The State Minister in charge of Microfinance, Haruna Kasolo has ordered the arrest of members of Emyooga Sacco for elected leaders in Butembe and Kagoma County Constituencies in Jinja district for defaulting Emyooga funds.
While monitoring the performance of the program in Jinja district on Monday, Kasolo established that members of these Saccos had defaulted on repaying the money yet the program rotates around revolving fund.
This was after the minister was informed by Jinja district Deputy RDC, Juma Kigongo that most of the defaulters are from the sub counties of Buyengo, Buwenge rural, and Buwenge Town Council.
The defaulters dodged the meeting in which the monitoring the performance of the program.
“I and Microfinance Support Centre have discovered that among the Saccos that received the seed capital especially in Kagoma North Constituency, there is one of elected leaders which received 50 million but has not returned the money .Also in Butembe, the Sacco for elected leaders received 50 million, and has not refunded the money. So, if we are to make the Emyooga successful, we have to make sure that those defaulters are handled with an iron fist. That money they defaulted includes their sacco members’ savings,” Kigongo revealed.
Speaking in response to the report by the deputy RDC, Minister Kasolo ordered the arrest of these members of the elected leaders’ saccos.
“RDC, arrest whoever is a defaulter, and recover that money. After that, they sit down and plan how to rebuild that Sacco. In other parts of the country, the Saccos for elected leaders are performing well,” Kasolo said.
In response, Kigongo said the defaulters will be handled with an iron to have the money returned.
“We are going to work with Court, and Police to make sure that those people are arrested, and they return that money. Since this is a revolving fund, their colleagues are waiting for that money to be returned, and they also borrow it,” he said.
Kigongo added that if defaulters are not handled with an iron fist, it will demoralize other Saccos which could in turn do the same.
The minister was informed that Jinja received shs1.68 billion in total as seed capital from Microfinance Support Centre for Emyooga and it was distributed among 54 saccos in the three constituencies of Kagoma County, Kagoma North and Butembe.
The 54 Saccos are formed by 279 associations and these made savings worth shs662 million.
Loans worth shs2.19 billion where given out to sacco members.
The sacco leaders told the minister that they have challenges including lack of well-established offices which the members said have slowed down their operations as well as poor attitude on government programs like Emyooga whose money many think is an appreciation from President Museveni and poor saving culture among others.
Speaking to beneficiaries, Minister Kasolo said that whenever funds for development like the case for Emyooga are sent by government, it should be embraced wholeheartedly by the public for their benefit.
“If you get any money, always ensure you save a portion of it before you start spending it,”Kasolo urged.