Kitgum District is stuck with over 1.5 Billion shillings disbursed by the government under the Presidential Initiative on Wealth and Job Creation (Emyooga).
The government gave out shillings 1.68 billion to the District in December last year to be disbursed to Saving and Credit Cooperative (Sacco) groups that successfully meet guidelines for the initiative.
A total of 54 Sacco Groups were formed in three constituencies of Chua East, Chua West, and Kitgum Municipality, which each constituency allocated shillings 560 million.
But nearly nine months since receiving the money, the district has issued only 12.78 million shillings to one Sacco group in the district.
The Money was handed to members of Chua West Tailoring Sacco Group at an official launch of disbursement of Emyooga fund in Kitgum Municipality on Wednesday.
Alex Opira, the District Principal Commercial Officer told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that only one Sacco group has been able to meet all the necessary requirements under the Emyooga guidelines.
He says the group was able to save a third of the money required under the Emyooga guidelines for them to qualify to borrow money from the Bank.
Opira says 53 Sacco groups in the district to date haven’t been able to save a considerate amount of money that makes them fulfill the requirements of the initiative. Under the Emyooga guidelines, a Sacco group is expected to save up to 30 percent of the money they are in need of borrowing from the Sacco Account.
He encouraged the Sacco groups that haven’t received money to save a third of their money to qualify adding that they are yet to get clarification on whether the percentage saving have been lowered from 30 to 10 percent.
Early this month, after Parliament went on recess, the legislators retreated to their respective constituencies on a fact-finding mission to understand the disbursement and utilization of the Emyooga fund.
The decision was to enable the Parliament to understand how effective the initiative was before the Government rolls out the Parish Development Model, one of the government’s newest attempts in alleviating poverty.
Kitgum District Woman Member of Parliament, Lillian Aber who has been traversing her constituency says information gap on the interest rate, bureaucracy, and stringent requirements in accessing the fund are affecting the implementation of the initiative.
Aber says many Sacco group members are shying away from the government’s initiative since they can’t afford to save up to 30 percent of the money they are required to borrow, the lengthy time they spend on paper works and hefty subscription fees.
The legislator says there is a need on the part of the government to loosen the stringent requirements and make available information on the necessary processes of accessing the money.
Kitgum Resident District Commissioner William Komakech reiterates that the bureaucratic processes of the initiative has dragged the disbursement of funds to the intended beneficiaries. Komakech however expressed happiness for the Chua West Tailoring Sacco group that was the first in the district to qualify for the fund.
The presidential initiative was launched in August 2019 and meant to support selected groups of people in respective districts across the country to improve household incomes, enhance entrepreneurial capacity of selected beneficiaries and increase access to specialized financial services.
The initiative targets 18 specialized categories in the informal sector among others Boda Boda operators, taxi drivers, teachers, journalists, market vendors, welders, restaurant owners, disable persons, saloon operators, performing artists, veterans, fishermen, tailors, youth leaders and elected leaders.