The President has promised funding to Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (Saccos) that are talent/sector-specific under the poverty eradication scheme.
He said these may be better than the previous and existing ones that were numerous and not covering specific geographical areas.
The new Saccos will comprise carpenters, boda-boda riders, welders, market vendors, youth leaders, produce dealers, mechanics, tailors, fishermen and artistes, and artists, etc.
But before asking people to form new Saccos to fight poverty, the President should first find out why the previous or current ones have failed to reduce poverty despite huge sums of money that have been sunk into them.
The new Saccos will only serve to escalate wastage of taxpayers’ money. Previous and existing anti-poverty programmes have failed for the same reason. For instance the mechanics, carpenters, welders, etc, who are to be funded under the new Saccos have no registered associations.
They operate as individuals. So they will only come together and form loose groups for purposes of getting the money. Once they receive it, they will share it and dissolve the groups.
Besides, there is no money in the Budget to provide for the Saccos and the Ministry of Finance has no clue about the programme but merely said they will wait for “guidance” on the matter.
State House said the money will be found for the Saccos. This means the Saccos are not planned for by government and suggests Finance ministry will have to cut budgets of other sectors to raise the money. There is no established eligibility criteria for the Sacco membership or a framework to ensure accountability.
It is the reason hundreds of billions of money have been sunk into numerous previous and current anti-poverty schemes without much positive outcomes on poverty reduction to justify the huge funding.
The Youth Livelihood Fund programme was announced in similar manner and funded haphazardly and the results have been disastrous. Youth formed groups to get money and as soon as money reached their accounts, they shared it and closed shop. They can’t be traced to date.
The government has failed to get money to fund the retroviral treatment for thousands of people living with HIV/Aids and donors who have been the financiers have announced intention to withdraw their support by next year.
The National HIV/Aids Trust Fund, which was created to provide the funding after donor withdrawal, has not been operationalised due to lack of money. Upgrading of Mulago Hospital has stalled due to lack of money and the health sector is appalling.
Government should be looking at funding such key national programmes instead of wasting money on quasi poverty schemes that never reduce poverty.