Govt to revive cooperative bank, says Minister Ngobi

State Minister for Cooperatives Fredrick Gume Ngobi plants as part of a tree of the one million tree planting campaign by cooperatives across the country at Lake Victoria Primary School in Entebbe on June 27, 2023. Photo/Paul Adude.  

What you need to know:

  • The bank was established in the 1960s as a commercial bank, but later closed on May 19, 1999.

The State Minister for Cooperatives, Mr Fredrick Gume Ngobi, has said government is set to revive the Uganda Cooperative Bank to enable Ugandans in cooperatives to save more money in order to invest in projects to develop themselves.
“For the first time since our struggle began, government has accepted that we revive our cooperative bank, we have already hit on the Order Paper of Cabinet and it’s only a matter of time that we will be presenting the need for our bank,” he said.

Mr Ngobi made the remarks at the launch of the one million tree planting campaign by cooperatives across the country at Lake Victoria Primary School in Entebbe on Tuesday.
“If 15 million people subscribe to the bank, we will be better off than all other banks because it’s going to be a bank owned by the natives for the people by the people. There won’t be repatriation of profits, they invest and you know cooperators are not much interested in profits but rather savings,” he added.

Mr Ngobi urged the cooperators to embrace the opportunity of having their own bank, which he said will address the savers’ social corporate responsibilities like paying school fees for the less privileged. 
“The cooperators are 15 million now in number from the six million we started with, with more than 40,000 Saccos and multipurpose cooperatives. This is a big force that we are trying to assist to come together to fight and eradicate poverty,” he said, adding, “We would also like to have a big contribution to the GDP [gross domestic product] of this country,” he said.

Mr Ngobi cautioned the leaders of the various Saccos against deviating funds from set targets.
The Walimu Cooperative Union chairperson, Mr Steven Nabende, said there is a need for the government to support Saccos with more funds in order for members to develop themselves.

“We are grateful for the support you have given teachers in the form of cooperatives, especially for the teachers’ Sacco fund that you have extended to the teachers of Uganda, in particular to our school Sacco here. As a school, we have so far received Shs80m from the government. We have put it into good use in terms of development,” he said. 

Mr Leonard Okello, the chief executive officer of Uhuru Institute, said the tree planting campaign across the country is aimed at battling climate change in the world.

The new institution is expected to enhance the availability of affordable financing to viable projects in agriculture and micro and medium scale enterprises development in the country. Since 2008, there have been efforts to re-open the bank or create a replacement. The bank aims to help Saccos, traders and farmers access loans at cheaper interests.