A section of residents, who subscribe to the different Emyooga groups in Pallisa District, have faulted government officials for delaying the release of funds.
The locals made the remarks during an Emyooga planning meeting which took place at Kalaki Primary School in Kalaki Sub-county at the weekend.
The meeting was attended by officials from the district local government and Microfinance Support Centre Ltd, a financial agency mandated to manage micro-credit funds and offer business development services on behalf of government.
The locals have asked government to refund the savings that they deposited in commercial banks as membership and subscription fees.
“Let them refund our money because from the look of things, this programme is not meant for the poor,” Mr Julius Okello, one of the members of Agule
Produce Constituency Savings and Credit Co-operatives (Sacco), said.
Mr Okello said they are frustrated by the overwhelming requirements demanded by government officials before they can access Shs30m.
“The constraints attached to the money aims at failing us. We [group members] are tired and we are no longer interested in their money,” he said.
The requirements the Saccos must fulfil include setting up an office with a sign post, chart of Sacco leaders, mission, objectives, receipt books and Sacco stamps.
Mr Johnson Malinga, another beneficiary, said whenever they attend Emyooga meetings, government officials come up with new excuses to delay the release of money.
“We have not seen any progress ever since we created these Saccos. This is why you see people demanding the refund for their money,” he said.
Mr John Micheal Okurut, the Pallisa chairperson, said poor organisation of the programme is affecting its implementation.
“I have given them two weeks to organise themselves so that the beneficiaries can access the money,” he said.
The deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mr Dhikusooka Magidu, vowed to never attend any other meeting for the Emyooga exercise.
“I am just tired because officials come with different guidelines and they keep telling the disgruntled beneficiaries to fill forms,” Mr Magidu said.
Mr Kenneth Mwamanya, the dfcu branch manager for Pallisa, however, said the bank received the Emyooga money in December 2020.
“We are only waiting for the district officials and the Micro-finance Support Centre to forward ready Saccos to start accessing the money,” he said.
Mr Geoffrey Okwalinga, an official from the Micro-finance Support Centre, Mbale branch, said the Saccos are not ready to receive the money.
“The Saccos must fulfil the guidelines so that they don’t misuse the funds,” he said.
Mr Jude Ade, the district commercial officer for Pallisa, said: “The leaders of Saccos should not get demoralised because they will get the funds once they fulfil the requirements .”
Emyooga, which was launched in 2019, aims at creating jobs and improving household incomes of Ugandans in various categories including the boda boda ridées, journalists, taxi drivers, restaurant owners, artistes and welders, among others. President Museveni launched the programme as part of government’s initiative to transform 68 per cent of Ugandan homesteads from subsistence to market-oriented production.