Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development is stuck with Shillings 15 billion that was recovered from women groups across the country under the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program (UWEP).
Winfred Matsiko, the UWEP national coordinator says that the money is part of the Shillings 34 Billion they have recovered this financial year from the revolving funds disbursed to women groups.
She however says that districts have only applied for Shillings 19 billion leaving a balance of Shillings 15 billion. According to Matsiko, unless they disburse the money this financial year, they will have no option but to return it to the consolidated fund at the end of this financial year.
Some of the districts that have applied for the money include Kiruhura where 17 new women groups will receive Shillings 138 Million following the recovery of over Shillings 264 Million of the Shillings 400 million that was disbursed. The 17 groups will receive their money on the women’s day celebrations on March 8th, 2023 to showcase the success of the program.
Fortunate Abaho, UWEP focal person for Kiruhura district says that the district leadership was forced to apply for more money following the successful utilization of the first batch noting that they have managed to recover 67% of the money.
She said Shillings 138 million that they have applied for will be given out to 17 groups with each group getting between Shillings 7 and 9 million noting that these groups are into bull fattening, goat rearing, and tailoring among other projects.
Juliet Karuhanga, the chairperson of Karengo Women Bull Fattening Group said despite the good performance of groups in Kiruhura, they are still faced with the challenge of market for their products.
The Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Betty Amongi Akena appreciated the performance of the Women groups in Kiruhura noting that she was in the district to assess their performance and identify a new venue for the women’s day celebrations.
The government had previously identified Sanga Town Council Stadium along the Kiruhura- Mbarara Kabale Highway as the venue to host the national women’s day celebrations but later changed it to Kaaro High School Playground citing security concerns.
Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program (UWEP) is an initiative of the Government aimed at equipping women with skills for enterprise growth, value addition and marketing of their products, and improving their opportunities to access financial services.