The State Minister for Microfinance, Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo has said the government of Uganda is looking at partnering with Buganda kingdom to help in the implementation of the Emyooga programme.
The program launched last year seeks to enable Ugandans in the informal sector boost their household incomes by growing their small businesses through saving in saccos and borrowing at a small interest rate.
The program is implemented by the Microfinance Support Centre.
On Tuesday, Minister Kasolo led officials from the Microfinance Support Centre and Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority (UMRA) to meet officials from Buganda government led by the Katikkiro, Charles Peter Mayiga.
“I have found a hard time for mobilizing people to join Emyooga program .Many didn’t appreciate it thinking it was a political tool yet it is aimed at alleviating poverty,”Kasolo said.
“People can’t get rich while getting handouts from government but rather saving and investing. Emyooga is being talked about by many but well as it came during campaign time, it was not political but that was the time it was meant to be implemented.”
The minister said that by partnering with Buganda, the government wants to ensure successful implementation of the program by using its structures to reach out to the population.
“The program is aimed at ensuring financial inclusion and will record more success if we partner with institutions like Buganda.”
According to John Peter Mujuni, the Executive Director of the Microfinance Support Centre, the partnership would go a long way in monitoring the program in Buganda using the Mengo government structures.
“When the saccos get the shs30 million seed capital, we expect them to use it very well.Your leadership can help us in ensuring people use the money for the right purpose. There is a culture that if money is free you can just eat it. We want to count on leadership here on ensuring people use the money very well,”Mujuni said.
He suggested that the Microfinance Support Centre can as well establish a special desk for Buganda to handle issues related to Emyooga program.
According to Mujuni, the Microfinance Support Centre can also lend money to saccos at the lowest rates in the country, a service he said can be tapped into using the Buganda government structures.
Speaking at the meeting, Buganda Katikkiro, Charles Peter Mayiga welcomed the idea of partnership but warned the population against politicking issues to do with development.
“The methods employed by saccos are largely intended to benefit young people and the purpose even here in the kingdom is to ensure young people can take advantage of them to save and invest. It is extremely important to eliminate politics from any programs intended for economic well-being of the ordinary persons,” he said.
Citing a partnership that Buganda has with the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, Mayiga said coffee production has been enhanced, noting that the same can be done to ensure success of Emyooga program.
“This is a good initiative that we must embrace with both hands. We should work with central government to ensure such programs reach everyone. We will work with Microfinance Support Centre so that this program reaches the ordinary person using Kabaka’s structure.”
“We are ready to work with your team on this program. We shall soon dispatch team of technical people to work out a program with you on how to implement this partnership and to benefit our people,” he added.