What you need to know:
- According to Ms Nashira Amule, the Chairperson Koboko Constituency youth leaders Emyooga Sacco in Keri town council, some of beneficiaries of the programme were ideologically disoriented which has contributed to the recovery challenges.
Koboko District authorities are struggling to recover Emyooga funds after some of the youth misused the money they borrowed from their Saccos, including using it to allegedly marry more wives, the deputy Resident District Commissioner, Vincent Mugenyi has said.
The presidential initiative on wealth and job creation (Emyooga) was launched in August 2019 as part of the broad government strategy targeting to transform 68 percent of homesteads from subsistence to market-oriented production with the overall objective of promoting job creation and improving household incomes. The initiative is centered on various 18 categories/enterprises/Emyooga covering majority of the hitherto, financially excluded Ugandans engaged in similar specialized enterprise categories.
However, Mr Mugenyi said his office has received several reports of mismanagement of the funds by some beneficiaries who borrowed the money from the village and community Saccos that received the money.
"There are people who borrowed money from Emyooga Saccos to marry their second and third wives and have failed to pay back thinking that it was given to them just to be eaten but we’ll arrest and prosecute them," he said.
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Koboko District Local Government received Shs1.68 billion to be shared among 54 Saccos in the constituencies of Koboko North, Koboko Constituency and Koboko Municipality. However, more than one year down the road since the programme was implemented, less than 20 percent of the money has so far been recovered by the district authorities, according to Mr Mugenyi.
The district commercial officer Ismail Ratib said the Micro Finance Support Centre which was mandated to prepare the Emyooga Sacco group members across the district did not do enough in terms of sensitisation and building the capacities of the beneficiaries to ensure success of the programme.
"I think in terms of knowledge, the microfinance support centre has the capacity to support the Saccos to implement the Emyooga programme but in terms of manpower, they do not have the capacity because there are very many districts in West Nile that need their support. I suggest that government recruits community based trainers attached to each district or Sub-county commercial officers to support these Emyooga Saccos more effectively because the district commercial officers are also overwhelmed with other activities," Mr Ratib.
However, Mr Samuel Lupai, the Koboko Municipal Mechanics Emyooga Sacco argued that unless government increases the amount of seed capital given to the Saccos, some people who have received the programme will not feel its impact.
"The seed capital government gave to the Saccos was relatively smaller. The money some people borrowed cannot be invested in a reasonable business thus causing recovery challenges,” he said.
According to Ms Nashira Amule, the Chairperson Koboko Constituency youth leaders Emyooga Sacco in Keri town council, some of beneficiaries of the programme were ideologically disoriented which has contributed to the recovery challenges.
"People took this money as government money and they thought they could use it the way they want, but that is not the issue. This money was given to us to uplift ourselves," she said.
Keri town council Gombolola Internal Security Officer (GISO) Mr Lawrence Asiki told this reporter that some of the beneficiaries of programme fled their homes after misusing the money.
"Those who think government programmes should be mismanaged this time will not go unpunished. We are already looking for some members of the executives who have mismanaged the Emyooga money and are currently on run. We have to recover the money," Mr Asiki said.
Koboko District chairman, Mr Mambo Asirafu expressed dismay over what he described as increased negative attitude of some people in the district towards poverty eradication programmes by the central government.
"Government is injecting a lot of money in poverty alleviation programmes but we are not seeing the impact of these interventions because of lack of ownership by the intended beneficiaries. This is the best time for the people to move away from poverty by investing in the best enterprises and being dynamic with business," he said.