By Patrick Jaramogi
Commercial banks have not done enough to help alleviate poverty among the rural people, Senior Presidential advisor on security Gen. Caleb Ankandwanaho aka. Salim Saleh has said.
Saleh lashed out at Post Bank, the only bank that he said government had spared to help address poverty among the rural poor.
“It is so sad that banks are not doing what they are supposed to do to help the rural poor address poverty through easy affordable credit services,” said Saleh.
Saleh who was officiating at the handover of a house constructed for Getrude Namukwaya, who supported the NRA liberation war in Kawumu village Makulubita in Luweero said the government was monitoring banks that do not support poverty eradication.
“I was a minister for Finance (Micro Finance) and I do recall as government was liberalizing the banking sector, I and then Finance minister Dr. Ezra Suruma stood and said Post Bank should remain, but only on condition that it supports the rural poor access credit. I am unhappy that Post Bank is not doing this,” said Saleh.
He thanked Hydrahomes Uganda, a local company that deals in Hydrautec ISS block making machines for partnering with Post Bank to construct houses for the elderly and poor.
“It is important that banks know the importance of allowing easy access to credit without many hindrances. Why doesn’t Post Bank start up agricultural loans, or home improvement loans without demand for security?” he asked. He warned that if Post Bank doesn’t come up facilities to support access to credit, government would intervene.
The new project is part of the presidential initiative that President Museveni launched in Mukono last year to help increase housing among the rural elderly women.
The Chairman of Hydrahomes (U) Ltd. Harrison Busingye explained that his company's task was not just to build elders' homes but to empower the community especially the youth through skills training and to set up business ventures for themselves using Hydrautec technology to alleviate poverty and also support the president's initiative of improving living conditions of elderly people.
Gen Saleh bought a Hydrautec block making machine worth $38,000 for Kawumu farmers and ordered that they use it for income generating activities.
Luweero district chairperson, Hajji Abdul Nadduli , said most banks were frustrating government’s effort to eradicate poverty.
“The bureaucracy of accessing credit from commercial banks is a night mare. Banks ask these rural people security that is impossible, we need banks that can help support poverty eradication,” he said.
Naduuli noted that he had mobilized over 150,000 people from the 13 sub counties of Luweero to engage in income generating activities through block making.
“With this machine, we can engage over 100,000 people who will in turn start up income generating activities to fight poverty,” said Naduuli.