Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Women’s Council has advised Ministry of Finance against channeling Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program – UWEP funds through the districts .
During the Council sitting held at Bunyangabu district headquarters on Thursday, the council chairperson, Faridah Kimbowa, said that the Finance Ministry has already announced plans of channelling UWEP funds directly to the respective districts without involving the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
Currently, the Gender Ministry is directly in charge of all UWEP projects countrywide.
According to Kimboya, the move by Ministry of Finance is not only meant to undermine the Ministry of Gender but also aimed at killing the program because there is politicking and bribery at the district level.
She says that as National Women’s Council, they understand that UWEP is meant to uplift women from poverty and demand that the status quo remains.
Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Gender and Social Development agreed with Kimbowa.
Bigirimana said that he is aware of the different challenges faced by districts in terms of handling finances. He cited Kampala Capital City Authority – KCCA that he says retained money for 12 women groups last year and the money was only released after his intervention.
The Minister of State for Gender and Culture, Peace Mutuuzo, said that with a functional National Women’s Council in place, they don’t see any reason why districts should be allowed to handle UWEP money directly.
She pledged to lobby for more funding to women councils at the district level to ensure they monitor the UWEP money without any hiccups.
UWEP is an initiative by the government to improve women’s access to financial services, equip them with the skills for enterprise growth, value addition and marketing of their products and services. The women are availed with interest-free revolving credit to initiate or strengthen their enterprises.