In order to consolidate the gains made in the fight against poverty, the Entebbe municipality Member of Parliament, Rosemary Tumusiime has urged her constituency to embrace a planning and saving culture for their enterprises.
Tumusiime also cautioned against financial indiscipline, such as mixing business resources with family matters, which often leads to closure, especially of women owned enterprises.
“The challenge now is that we just copy everything we hear and see, without investigating its relevance to the survival of our enterprises. We also need to embrace a saving culture in order to evenly compete in the market, since there is no better way of getting debt free capital,” she said on the sidelines of the Entebbe Windsor SACCO annual general meeting recently.
Windsor SACCO was formed in 1997 as a small scale financial project by 25 workers of Windsor Lake Victoria Hotel, and has since evolved to serve the public. It currently serves more than 2000 members.
She said the key to successful businesses is managing income and expenditure, which many fail to control, leading to the collapse of their businesses.
“In this generation, we do not have any excuse to keep ourselves in poverty. We have to work hard to change the municipality, which is at the entrance of the country and the first impression of our country that visitors get,” she said.
According to the World Bank’s National Accounts statistics of 2015, Uganda’s saving to GDP ratio currently stands at 17.4%, behind Tanzania’s 20.6% and Kenya‘s 25%.
She said the low savings rate has been largely due to inadequate financial services, financial illiteracy and physical distance from banking institutions.
“Now that we have mobile money, banking services are made simpler. We need to build assets out of our savings because no one will give us free capital,” she said.
The SACCO’s manager, Godfrey Kasozi said saving money is the only way through which Ugandans can lift themselves out of poverty.
He added that this is the cheapest way families can build wealth, and ensure good education for their children.
“Even the health of the kids will be fine because of good feeding and a conducive environment in which they are raised. We cannot ignore this, therefore, we should all save,” he said.
According to the Bank of Uganda, the elite population in Uganda comprises only 13% of the general population, estimated at 40 million, and of these, only 3% hold savings in the formal financial markets.