KAMPALA: Beneficiaries of the Emyooga program in Kasese District are reporting success since the program was rolled out in the district more than a year ago.
Program beneficiaries who interacted with the URN reporter say the seed capital has helped them start or grow their businesses, learn about business and save cultures, and create associations and partnerships.
Emyooga is a presidential initiative that was rolled out in October 2020 aimed at wealth and job creation. It is intended to support, among others, market vendors, welders, taxi drivers, carpenters, boda-boda riders, women, performing artists, and restaurant owners who come together in the form of savings and credit co-operative societies.
Each parish sacco receives a revolving seed capital of 30 million shillings.
When the government launched Emyooga in 2020, Anita Nyakato, a businesswoman in Kisanga ward, Kasese Municipality, had a struggling business but decided to interest her fellow PWDs, and they applied for the 30 million shillings under Kisanga Ward PWDs Sacco.
Anita Nyakato, who is dealing in second-hand clothes, says she received 1.5 million shillings to boost her initial capital.
In one year, she says she has bought a plot of land, opened up two mini-boutiques and constructed a residential house with the hope of establishing a bigger boutique and transiting into the whole sell.
On Monday Rose, the chairperson of Kasese Municipality PWDs, Sacco said that most of the disabled people couldn’t easily access credit facilities or capital and this gap has been fixed by the program.
Rose told a URN reporter that while many had initially despised the program, they later realised that it was an easy way to get cheap credit.
Milton Ndatu, a member of Kisanga Sacco for PWDs, hails the program as a major boost to his carpentry business that was ailing a year ago.
Under their parish group, Ndatu applied for 600,000 shillings and used it to buy new tools and has since started offering training to the youths.
Yoweri Bwabanemu, who is the publicity secretary of Bukhonzo West Emyooga Sacco and a beneficiary of the program who also received seed capital, says that beyond the financial growth, the program has equally brought them together.
According to Bwabanemu, this group has managed to save and buy 30 motorcycles for its members.
Bukonzo West Women Entrepreneurs Emyooga Association says the Sacco, with 42 members, has managed to increase its savings to three million shillings within a year.
However, the beneficiaries say that whereas Emyooga is good and many have benefited, the government needs to inject more seed capital into the saccos.
Expedito Rwakabani, the chairperson for Busongora North PWDs, says some of the groups were left out because the 30 million couldn’t be enough for all.
He says in some groups, beneficiaries got less than 100,000 shillings, and the impact of the program is fairly low in his area.
But the Deputy Executive Director of the Micro Finance Support Centre-MSC, Hellen Petronilla Masika, says the government has announced that starting next financial year, it will give an extra 20 million shillings to excelling groups and Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations-Saccos.
She added that continued reports of mismanagement of funds should not negate the fact that more people have benefited.