Lands Minister, Judith Nabakooba paid a courtesy visit to Korean funded projects in Ssekanyonyi sub-county, Mityana District on July 6 to monitor, evaluate and track progress.
In Mityana alone, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), picked out two sub-counties, Ssekanyonyi and Bbumbu and sponsored their different projects in a four-year project plan which commenced in 2019.
The Korean government organization established through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Korea has funded various projects in the eight villages that make up Ssekanyonyi Sub-county.
While touring the established projects, Nabakooba lauded the Korean government for the support and encouraged Mityana people to embrace the projects for their development.
“We thank KOICA for supporting our people. As a government, we will come in through our programmes of Emyooga and Parish Development Model (PDM) to boost these businesses that the Koreans started,” she pledged.
In her visits, she started at a water point which is located at Bukooba village that cost Shs 700 million meant to supply the whole sub-county.
She was disappointed after learning that the water source is not functioning after the contractors who were handed the project purchased a weak and substandard pump.
Hon Nabakooba was told that the coffee factory at Bukooba village has helped farmers to add value to their coffee but the challenge is the high utility rates which locals want the government to reduce.
She encouraged farmers to keep standards for their coffee such that they can penetrate the international market.
“If you follow all the standard guidelines that were put in place, your coffee will be taken at a high price. I therefore urge you to always ensure that you keep the standards,” she said.
The Minister was mesmerized by the rate at which Bukooba Parish MG saving group was growing and encouraged more people to join and become members such that they can benefit.
“I guess we have more than 1000 people in Ssekanyonyi sub-county. Teach people about the good things accompanied by being a member of a developmental group in their areas,” she advised.
Mr John Mmembe, the Ssekanyonyi chairperson shared that in a bid to elevate the living standards of Mityana locals, Korean investors funded more than 10 projects estimated to Shs1 billion in his sub-county.
“We have eight villages in this area and each was given shs100 million to start up projects of their choice. And this has really changed the lives of our residents,” he said.
He asked the government to beef-up the Koreans with more funding as startup capital for a few businesses that still need support and are looking for a market for their produce.
Mr. Mmembe revealed that they have no security for their projects and asked the government to provide security in areas where the projects were set up.
The projects include a water point, coffee factory, maize milling factory, saloon, welding machines, cattle rearing, and vegetable growing among others.
Mr Godfrey Kimaliridde, the Bukooba village chairperson thanked the government for bringing investors in Mityana who have since developed people financially.
“The future is bright, I just encourage people to work hard and pay back their loans such that others can also get.”
He however decried the poor roads that link to the areas where the projects were established and asked the government to come to their rescue. “We have been constructing those roads through a self-help mechanism but we find that the money needed is overwhelming.”
Other projects which have developed include Bukooba Parish MG Cooperative group. This provides loans to different group members, saving money and buying of shares by the members.
MG is a Korean abbreviation for “Maul Geumugo” which means a village bank.
Ms Dorah Nakazibwe, the chairperson of Bukooba MG said they have 1318 fully registered members and for the past four years, they have savings of Shs 150 million, shares amounting to Shs41 million and loans which were given to people of Shs145 million.
She noted that they have embraced digital where one who is not a resident of the area can use a smartphone to save and pay back their loans through the digital financial system.