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Mistrust, bureaucracy hindering effectiveness of Emyooga program in Masaka

A total of 36 SACCOs were registered in Masaka city and funded to a tune of 1.2 billion shillings under the Emyooga initiative. File Photo

Masaka, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Bureaucratic tendencies and mistrust among beneficiaries have been blamed for the slow progress of the Emyooga program in Masaka.

Several of the intended beneficiaries in the area have continuously lost interest in the program with some withdrawing their membership from Savings and Credit Cooperatives- SACCOs.

It has emerged from the assessment of the program by Members of Parliament that some of the SACCOs never completed their registration and application processes and as a result, they are yet to benefit from the program.

Rose Nampijja, the secretary for Kimyanya Women Briquette Making Association says the program involved tedious preconditions that knocked them off. She explains that they were asked to team up with similar associations in the division, after which they would form a constituency SACCO before they would access funds.

According to Nampijja, this condition raised concerns of financial honesty among her group members.

“We have been running our savings scheme, but this program required that we widen it by admitting other members or joining other associations of people who we have never worked with before,” she says.

The association according to her continues to run their micro-savings and credit scheme among a membership of seven people who preferred to maintain their mode of operation.

Ronald Ahimbisibwe, a member of Kimanya-Kabonera county media SACCO, which didn’t complete the registration cycle indicates that they could not afford the extensive application processes involved in the program, which he argues lacked substantial funding.

He also blames the project implementers for keeping in their officers other than carrying out field supervisions through which they would guide the beneficiaries.

Juliet Nakidde, a secretary of Nyendo-Kitaka Salon Operators Association says they were denied access to the funds even after it was deposited to their bank account, after they failed to obtain a certificate from the Microfinance Support Centre.

“We stopped at seeing a deposit message from our bank account, but all attempts to start using the money never yielded results and we could not wait any longer,” she says.

According to records at the Masaka Zonal Microfinance Support Centre, a total of 36 SACCOs were registered in Masaka city and funded to a tune of 1.2 billion shillings.

Baker Nambaale, the Masaka branch manager for the Microfinance Support Centre says their teams will continue engaging with the affected SACCOs to enable them to complete the processes and access the funds.

Nambaale says that the beneficiaries are required to first undergo financial literacy training and be given certificates before they could be allowed access to funds already deposited on their bank accounts.

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