Bwamba Performing Artists Emyooga SACCO in Bwamba County, Bundibugyo district is in distress after its Chairperson used Emyooga funds to process a Visa, and fled the country.
This was brought to the attention of the Minister of State for Microfinance, Haruna Kyeyune Haruna and officials from the Microfinance Support Centre (MSC) as they toured Rwenzori sub region to monitor the performance of Emyooga program.
The Emyooga, literally meaning skills, is a Presidential Initiative on wealth and job creation which was launched by President Museveni in August 2019 as part of Government’s continuous strategies to transform 68% of Ugandan homesteads from subsistence to market-oriented production.
The initiative targets 18 specialized enterprises namely; Boda Bodas, Women Entrepreneurs, Carpenters, Salon Operators, Taxi Operators, Restaurant Owners, Welders, Market Vendors, Youth Leaders, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), Produce Dealers, Mechanics, Tailors, Journalists, Performing Artists, Veterans, Fishermen and Elected Leaders.
The program is managed by the Microfinance Support Centre (MSC), a government owned company under the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
Minister Kasolo has spent this week in Rwenzori sub region as he continues his countrywide tour monitoring the performance of Emyooga Programme.
While in Bwamba County, Kasolo and MSC officials were informed by Bwamba Performing Artists Emyooga SACCO that one its Associations Chairperson used Emyooga funds for his Association to process a Visa and subsequently fled the country.
In response, Hellen Masika Petronella, the MSC Deputy Executive Director advised the SACCO to work with the RDC and open up a case at police.
“We got a presentation from the performing artists, and in their presentation, they raised an issue that there is one of the Chairpersons of the Associations who got the money and processed a visa and moved out of the country. As Government, we are not just going to sit and look on as people misuse this fund. We have guided them to work with Chairperson district taskforce who is the RDC, and who heads security in the district so that they are able to follow up on this case with police,” she said.
MSC Deputy Executive Director, Hellen Masika Petronilla speaking with leaders of Emyooga SACCOs in Bwamba County, Bundibugyo District.
To the SACCOs that have encountered similar challenges, Masika said they should use office of the RDC to address the matter.
“We shall not sit and watch and as government resources are misused; the money meant to uplift the common person. This money (for Emyooga) is meant to lift people out of poverty. Whoever steals this money will be handled with an iron fist,” she charged.
Meanwhile, Bwamba Performing Artists Emyooga SACCO said it received 30 million shillings just like all other Saccos. The SACCO mobilized its share capital of 1.5 million shillings, and savings of 3.5 million to make 35 million shillings which was disbursed to the 10 Groups/ Associations in the SACCO.
“Each group got 3 million. We are slowly recovering this money, and I believe that by the end of this year, we will be having a lot of money on our account,” said the SACCO Chairman.
inister of State for Microfinance, Haruna Kyeyune Haruna speaking with leaders of Emyooga SACCOs in Bundibugyo District.
However, he noted that by the time the SACCO received the money, they had a lot of challenges posed mainly by COVID-19 pandemic which forced the SACCO to venture into other long term businesses that have slowed loan recovery.
“As performing artists, our work is performing. The country was locked, and we could perform anywhere. However, we tried our best to invest this money in other projects where we invested in music production, brick laying, piggery, cocoa business, and accommodation. Because of the long term of the investment, the SACCO has recovered only 3 million,” he said.
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