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Disbursement of 'emyooga' funds starts next week — Minister

By Mary Karugaba

Added 18th October 2020 08:25 AM

The Emyooga programme is a presidential initiative on wealth and job creation. The programme targets Ugandans, especially in the informal sector who come together in form of savings and credit cooperative societies. 

Disbursement of 'emyooga' funds starts next week — Minister

Kasolo (centre) and other officials after launching the Emyooga initiative. (Photo by Nicholas Oneal)

The Emyooga programme is a presidential initiative on wealth and job creation. The programme targets Ugandans, especially in the informal sector who come together in form of savings and credit cooperative societies. 

The long-awaited disbursement of Emyooga funds starts next week, with Kampala and Wakiso districts receiving the lion's share.

The Minister of State for Microfinance, Haruna Kasolo Kyeyune, informed New Vision on Thursday 15 October that the disbursement of the sh150b so far received from the finance ministry will start with groups that have undergone training and have bank accounts.

The total budget for the programme is sh260b, but so far, the finance ministry has released sh150b through the Micro Finance Support Centre, the disbursing agency.

Documents seen by New Vision show that Kampala and Wakiso districts have been allocated sh50b, which will be distributed in 17 constituencies.

The money for Kampala and Wakiso was requested through a supplementary budget that was presented to Parliament last week by the finance ministry. Parliament is yet to approve the supplementary.

Sources told New Vision that there was pressure to allocate funds for Kampala and Wakiso given the nature of businesses the population is engaged in.

"About 70% of people in Kampala are engaged in the informal sector and, therefore, need support, especially during this time of COVID-19," a source said.

Kasolo said the rest of the districts will receive their share at constituency level. Each of the 353 constituencies has been allocated sh560m.

"We have the money and we shall start distributing it next week. Many people have been complaining about the delays, but we needed to first teach people how to save and how to invest this money," Kasolo said.

He said unlike other government grants, the Emyooga money will not be sent to the districts, but directly to the beneficiaries' accounts in commercial banks.

"This means only those with bank accounts and organised in groups will receive the money," Kasolo said.

The Emyooga programme is a presidential initiative on wealth and job creation. The programme targets Ugandans, especially in the informal sector who come together in form of savings and credit cooperative societies (SACCOS) under 19 clusters.

These include bodaboda riders, taxi drivers, restaurants, welders, market vendors, women entrepreneurs, youth leaders, people with disabilities, journalists, performing artists, veterans, fishermen, private teachers and elected leaders.

According to the minister, they are currently 400 SACCOS that have registered for the Emyooga funds. Asked why Kampala and Wakiso were given special treatment, Kasolo said "Kampala and wakiso districts are the heart of Uganda."

"As a capital city, Kampala and Wakiso has got so many people. The majority of the people in Kampala are poor and involved in informal businesses. So, we needed to design a special programme for these two districts," he said.

He warned against the politicisation of the Committee chairperson Amos Lugoolobi complained that whereas there has been a lot of publicity regarding the programme, the beneficiaries have not yet received the money.

"You are slow with the disbursement. You over publicised the programme, marketed it so well, all the citizens up the village level know about it, but nothing is happening. The people are now complaining that the money is not coming and they are losing patience," he said.

"It's coming, we sent the money to microfinance, but the problem is that the districts and constituencies are not yet ready," Bahati responded. MP Cecilia Ogwal demanded to know why MPs have been left out on Emyooga, yet it is a rural programme.

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