Kampala, Uganda | ISAAC KHISA | Tugende, a social enterprise that provides asset financing to informal sector entrepreneurs and Medium, Small and Medium Enterprises, has suspended penalties on clients who may get into difficulties to pay their loans till May 25.
Tugende provides loans in form of new motorcycles to recommended riders in a lease-to-own arrangement.
Uganda has 55 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, commonly known as COVID-19, and the government has imposed measures aimed at reducing its spreads including banning public passenger transport including boda bodas that now operate up to 2pm and only carrying luggages, banning public gatherings and closing schools.
The firm has also extended a package of support to its clients including a one-time unconditional cash transfer of Shs25, 000 / Ksh 700 that is being disbursed out to all of its 23,000+ active clients in both Uganda and Kenya along with full-time support from over 460 of its staff, who are actively working from home.
Tugende CEO, Michael Wilkerson, said the support aims at helping the Tugende community overcome the economic hardships they are facing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Tugende exists to help informal sector entrepreneurs grow, thrive and own their future. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that our clients are struggling to take care of their families. When they suffer, we suffer too. This support is to let our clients know that we are together with them and together we shall pull through,” he said in a statement.
“Tugende is itself facing dire challenges. However, we are committed to being with our clients during the best and worst of times and we want to help our clients, their communities and our employees in Uganda and Kenya during this difficult period.”
Wilkerson said Tugende would continue to look for more ways to help their clients during this period.
This development comes at the time motorcycles have become one of the major drivers of the economy in many emerging countries including Uganda, offering hundreds of thousands of jobs for those with little formal jobs, most especially youths.
Tugende was formally established in 2012 in Uganda and is a technology-enabled asset financier of income-generating assets for proven entrepreneurs, using a lease-to-own product to offer an affordable path to ownership of these assets.
To date, the firm has financed acquisition of motorcycles to over 30,000 boda boda operators in Uganda and Kenya.