Religious leaders in Kyegegwa district have asked Government to add them on the list of 18 categories of people benefiting from the presidential initiative on wealth and job creation, commonly known as Emyooga.
The Emyooga, literally meaning skills, is a Presidential Initiative on wealth and job creation launched by President Museveni in August 2019 as part of Government’s continuous strategies to transform 68% of Ugandan homesteads from subsistence to market-oriented production.
The initiative targets 18 specialized enterprises namely; Bodabodas, Women Entrepreneurs, Carpenters, Salon Operators, Taxi Operators, Restaurant Owners, Welders, Market Vendors, Youth Leaders, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), Produce Dealers, Mechanics, Tailors, Journalists, Performing Artists, Veterans, Fishermen and Elected Leaders.
Religious leaders, however, are not among the 18 categories of beneficiaries.
The religious leaders in Kyegegwa district have now asked the Minister of State for Microfinance, Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo to add them on the list of beneficiaries. Kasolo was monitoring the performance of Emyooga Programme in Kyegegwa district on Wednesday as he concluded programme monitoring in Rwenzori region.
The religious leaders’ appeal was first made on their behalf by Kyaka Central MP, Tom Bright Amooti, before making the request themselves.
“Hon Minister, when this programme of Emyooga was initiated, there is a group that we think you forgot; the religious leaders. They do a lot of work especially for NRM government. If they tell people to do this, pray for the country, people do it. Every time they pray, they pray for the President. But we forgot them. We didn’t give them the opportunity to form their own Omwooga SACCO. The District Commercial Officer knows these people,” he said.
Amooti added that although the religious leaders were not included on the list of 18 categories, they formed their own SACCO, and are in the process of registering it.
Given the opportunity to speak, the religious leaders addressed their issue directly to Minister Kasolo, and asked for inclusion in Emyooga Programme.
They were represented by Rev Father Jacent Wimana Atwooki of Kakabara Catholic Parish, Rev Father David Byamukama of Wekomire catholic Parish, and Ven Rev Canon Patrick Wilberforce Atwooki who said he himself supports “Museveni’s government.”
Rev Father Byamukama said the times of knowing religious leaders to be behind the pulpits, and not participating in development are long gone.
“We thank you, Hon Tom for chipping in, and involving us in this noble activity, and for helping us to identify ourselves to not only stop at the pulpit, and in our respective churches and mosques, but also get involved in development,” he said.
“Hon Minister, we are among the stakeholders that play a major role in the development process. Your consideration to us and the team we represent, we shall be very grateful,” he added.
In response, Minister Kasolo approved the religious leaders’ request, and asked them to form a SACCO, and get financial support from the government.
“Religious leaders, form your own SACCO, and we give you financial support. When we build religious leaders, we build a nation. When we support programmes for religious leaders, we are doing a great work, because it is them who teach morals and development, but they cannot teach development when they are under developed. Therefore, whenever I find a programme for religious leaders, I prioritize it, and give it support,” he said.
Kyaka Central Market, Kyegegwa district.
High Commodity Prices
Due to high commodity prices, the Emyooga Programme beneficiaries of Kyaka Central Market Vendors SACCO asked Government to add them more seed capital to boost their businesses.
Under Emyooga Programme, every Constituency received 560 million shillings from the Microfinance Support Centre (MSC), a government owned company under the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development that manages the Programme.
Elizabeth Tusiime, Chairperson Kyaka Central Market Vendors SACCO said her SACCO received 30 million shillings as seed capital, but due to high commodity prices, vendors do not purchase enough commodities for sell.
“High prices of commodities are affecting us because customers are getting to shun our commodities, not knowing that we purchase commodities at high prices. Secondly, we sell perishable goods, so, the longer our commodities stay on stalls, the more they go bad. We are asking Government to look for ways to have this fixed. We ask Government to add us more seed capital,” she said.
Tusiime told ChimpReports that a ply of tomatoes that initially cost Shs 150,000, has shot up to Shs 500,000 while a sack of Irish potatoes that would cost Shs 80,000 has gone up to Shs 190,000. A bunch of matooke has jumped from Shs 8,000 to Shs 20,000.
Kyaka Central Market Vendors Emyooga SACCO Chairperson, Elizabeth Tusiime speaking to reporters on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Kyaka Central Market Vendors Emyooga SACCO emerged the best performing SACCO in the entire Kyaka Central Constituency, with 98% loan recovery.
The SACCO is formed by 20 Associations.
A total of 4.5 million shillings was collected in membership, share capital – 9.2m, savings – 19.8m, seed capital received – 30,000,000, application forms – 3.3m, Loan processing fee – 2.9m, loan disbursement – 86.5m, Loan recovery – 60.2m, sale of tshirts – 1.5m, sale of stationary – 1.4m, Appraisal fee – 2.2m, and Loan recovery – 98%.
Kyegegwa District Performance
Kyegegwa district emerged the second best performing district in the the implementation of Emyooga Programme in Rwenzori region, after Kyenjojo.
The District Commercial Officer, Robert Mugisa while reading the performance report said that Kyaka Central Constituency received 560 million as seed capital from the Microfinance Support Centre (MSC), has saved 163 million, recovered 334 million in loans, and earned 38 million shillings in interest.