The State Minister for Microfinance, Haruna Kasolo has said Ugandan must have a sense of ownership for the Emyooga program if it is to succeed.
“People must know this program(Emyooga) belongs to them. There must be 100% sense of ownership. This is not a government but rather a people’s program. Once we hand the money to them, they are the very people to withdraw it, sit and determine who will get a loan and how to recover the money. In simple terms it is their program,”Kasolo said.
The minister said on Thursday in Isingiro after reports that some political leaders in the district told members of the public that Emyooga money was an appreciation from the NRM government for being voted into power.
The Isingiro deputy Chief Administration Officer, Martin Paul Yiga told the minister that consequently sacco leaders without following the required criteria shared some of the Emyooga money among themselves.
” Groups were formed just to take money and the leaders ended up giving themselves money ignoring other capable people in the Saccos,”Yiga said.
He said they can’t deny that money was received from Microfinance Support Center but noted it was shared by sacco leaders.
” We all know we got the money as shs 2. 8 billion came into the district,” he said.
Yiga however said going forward, they are going to ensure that the leaders return the money.
” You are going to bring this money and everything is going to be straightened. In order to get a loan, you must first save.”
Speaking in response, Minister Kasolo said members of the public should own the program to ensure they use it to alleviate poverty.
He said that since the program is still new, through monitoring, they will help to note and fix the challenges that might hinder its progress.
“We still have challenges but I am optimistic the challenges will be soon fixed. I have sat with leaders in the district and are determined to change this,” he said.
According to the performance report, 90 Emyooga saccos were formed in the five constituencies of Isingiro North, Isingiro West, Isingiro South, Bukanga North and Bukanga County that make up Isingiro district with 26815 as beneficiaries to the program in the district.
The 90 saccos received shs2.8 billion as seed capital whereas they have been able to mobilise savings worth shs268.4 million whereas the loans given out to members are worth shs2.6 billion.