Emyooga Program Beneficiaries in Rubanda West Constituency have cited COVID-19 lockdown as the reason why there is slow repayment of the loans they borrowed from Saccos.
This was revealed during a stakeholders meeting in which the area Member of Parliament Moses Kamuntu Mwongyera gathered Emyooga Sacco leaders, and officers from Rubanda District Local Government, to find out the challenges affecting Emyooga program implementation.
In Greater Kabale District which includes Rubanda, Rukiga and Kabale, Kamuntu has become the second legislator to make open investigations about Emyooga program as directed by the speaker of parliament, after Kabale Municipality Mp Dr. Nicholas Kamara, while no MP in kisoro has openly done it.
In his report, the Rubanda District Commercial Officer Mukiza Moses Nzeyimana explains that Ugx 530m was dibursed to 17 Emyooga Sacco beneficiaries begining May 2021, yet by 31st July, only 20m had been recovered as loan repayment.
Nzeyimana says his office had recommended that loan payment should be extended from four to six months as grace period for the beneficiaries whose business ventures were affected by the COVID-19 lockdown imposed by President Museveni in June 2021.
Nzeyimana’s report is backed by Ms Veny Nyiramugisha, Chairperson of the Women Entreprenuers’ Sacco who explains that out of 16 associations in her group, only 8 borrowed money while others feared because of the short time required to pay back the loans.
Hon. Kamuntu pledges to forward the issues to parliament when he reports back next week. He says it was bad timing that Emyooga money was released to people at a time when most of the businesses were either closed or partially affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.
By April this year, Government total funding for Emyooga totalled to 200b released to 6,394 constituency based Saccos in 347 constituences of 146 districts.
Mps are expected to have finished investigations into the program by the end of Tuesday next week when they will report to the speaker about their findings.