The State Minister for Microfinance, Caroline Amali Okao has pledged to offer training to Nakasero II Veterans’ SACCOS on financial literacy and business management.
The training will be conducted at their offices in Wandegeya, a city suburb, on a yet to be revealed date.
She said the course outline will include developing a saving culture, entrepreneurial skills, marketing and handling loans.
Akao told the veterans that her office is ready to train them in financial and business management, and offer any other technical support as long as they are ready.
“It is my mandate to fulfill the 2006 and 2011 NRM government pledge to ensure that the population has access to affordable financial services under the frame work of facilitating the broader vision of Prosperity For All,” she said.
While launching the SACCO Monday at the Ark hostel, she said to implement the pledge, government introduced SACCOs as cost effective financial infrastructures to give financial and technical assistance rather than groups.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics Microfinance Census 2010, the total number of functional Savings and Credits Cooperative Societies (SACCOs) in Uganda is 2,063, 1085 of which government has since 2008 enabled establish under the policy of one SACCO per Sub County.
The minister asked the veterans to also take advantage of the already existing government Microfinance Support Centre (MSC) that extends low interest whole sale credit to SACCOs and SMEs to boost their businesses instead of going to the banks for loans.
MSC gives Agricultural development loans at an annual fixed interest rate of 9% as well as Business development and commercial loans at 13%.
In order to invest more in capacity building of the SACCOs, the government has established a Project for Financial Inclusion in Rural Areas (PROFIRA).
The project is to support and ensure the sustainability of the SACCOs.
There is also a proposed enactment of the Tier IV Microfinance Bill with an aim of safeguarding the safety of member’s savings and enhancing the people’s confidence in the industry.
Akao said the Bill will establish an independent regulator and promote the integration of the unregulated microfinance industry into the regulated financial sector, which will open up new opportunities for SACCOs to access more competitive funding.
She said these following a petition from the SACCO members, requesting for technical support from her Ministry for member education on entrepreneurship, business management and cooperatives.
The veterans decried the poor savings culture of the members, narrow source of funding, low value chain for the local produce, high borrowing interest rates from banks, lack of market and entrepreneurial skills.
The chairman of the SACCO Lt Abdul Teefe, in his petition, asked the minister to prevail over obstacles that hinder access to competitive markets by organized groups under the SACCO, through the pertinent institutions.
“We make a lot of quality unique products like bags, mats, baskets and jewelry but have no market. People prefer importing the same from outside countries to buying from us,” he said.
Nakasero two Veteran’s SACCO was fully registered on October 3, 2012. Initially membership was based on Army, Prisons and Police Veterans. This has however, moved on to include all categories including civilians.
SOURCE: New Vision (Uganda)
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