Cases of multiple borrowing and dishonesty have been identified as major frustrations in the effective management of the Emyooga, a presidential initiative aimed at wealth and job creation.
The scheme was launched in 2019 to enhance the entrepreneurial capacity of selected enterprises and groups through sensitization, skilling and tooling as well as access to specialized financial services.
But an assessment exercise conducted by monitors from the Microfinance Support Centre and regional program coordinators established that a number of people in Lwengo district had benefited from the program more than once, using multiple registrations.
Gonzaga Muteesasira, the greater Masaka Regional Coordinator for the program, says that multiple entries have been unearthed among youth leaders and media practitioners SACCOs that were registered in the three constituencies in the area.
He says that to their disappointment, several unscrupulous beneficiaries have hurriedly obtained loans from the different associations with an intention of defrauding the program.
Muteesasira adds that some of the group leaders especially signatories on the SACCOs bank accounts also connived to secretly withdraw the money for their personal use, without the knowledge and approval of their members.
Backer Nambaale, the Operations Assistant at the Microfinance Support Centre, Masaka Zonal Branch says that they have also established cases where the SACCO leaders withdrew money from bank accounts but it never reached the intended beneficiaries.
He, however, indicates that they have now involved the police to take immediate action against the culprits.
Nambaale adds that they also asked Commercial Officers at all levels to closely monitor the operations of the SACCOs and ensure that the money allotted to them is strictly expended on the purposes it is meant for.
Moses Kamulegeya and Patrick Kyeyune, who are both members of Lwengo Youth Leaders SACCO, one of the associations that have been indicted for abuse of the funds, argues that besides the limited credit facilities, borrowers were given a lesser period within which to service their loans.
Kyeyune cautions that the program could also face high levels of default on loans, because many people obtained loans as their initial capital which may be difficult to recover.
The latest Inconsistencies cited in the Emyooga program come in the wake of nationwide assessments of the program by Members of Parliament, many of whom also highlighted major challenges in its implementation.
While addressing the country last weekend President Yoweri Museveni ordered the Minister for Microfinance to conduct a national sensitization exercise of beneficiaries to ensure that the program meets its purpose.