Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The second deputy prime Minister, Ali Kirunda Kivejinja has asked Cooperative unions in the country to shelf their compensation demands for war time losses.
Cooperative Unions are demanding upto Shillings 162 Billion from government in compensation for wartime losses, restoration of the defunct Cooperative Bank as well as the legal regimes for their operations.
But Kivejinja says Uganda is still broke to settle the debts as she rises from the shadows of the post independence upheavals, which bedeviled the country.
He said the demands should be shelved to allow government attend to pressing infrastructure development required to propel the country into a better economic future.
Jonas Tweyambe, the chairperson of Uganda Cooperatives Alliance, the Apex body uniting all Cooperatives in Uganda, says they will proceed to send a delegation of Cooperative members to meet President Museveni to press government to expedite the compensation process.
“For us we can’t wait because the process is too slow. And we are asking him to remember us and ascend to the Cooperatives Amendment bill 2016 that has been passed by Parliament” he said.
Kivejinja remarks contradicts President Yoweri Museveni’s position on the state of the economy since his government ascended to power in 1986.
He says the economy has grown four folds in comparison to its state in 1986 and can now finance most of its infrastructural development without the support of donors.
General Moses Ali, the first Deputy Prime Minister says government has earmarked 40 Billion Shillings to facilitate the operations of cooperatives. He said Cooperatives will access the funds through banks.
Gen. Ali read president Yoweri Museveni’s speech at the commemoration of the International Cooperatives Day at Wakiso district headquarters. He said government is already paying the wartime debts without disclosing how much has been paid so far.
According to President Museveni, cooperatives should utilize free inputs distributed by Operation Wealth Creation to boosts production and profiteer from Africa continental free trade areas amongst others.
The President said government is working towards improving the situation of Cooperatives in the country. He said the project to improve financial inclusion will be rolled out in the countryside to improve governance of SACCOS.
According to Frederick Ngobi, the state minister for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, there were 19,718 registered cooperatives as of June 2019, a sharp rise from about 4,500 few years ago.
A section of the Cooperatives across the country converged at Wakiso district headquarters to commemorate the Cooperatives week.
They exhibited some of their economic activities at the event to share experience and build critical mass of Cooperative movement to demands for their share of the economy.