Ronald Mukasa Ssenkubuge, a professional accountant, business developer, financial literacy coach and one of the Parliamentary aspirants for Kampala Central on the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) ticket has commended government for the “Emyooga” initiative which he said will partially curb the problem of unemployment in the Cities and urban areas.
The initiative will be implemented by the Microfinance Support Centre Ltd (MSC) targeting 18 clusters of people who include; boda-boda riders, women entrepreneurs, carpenters, salon operators, taxi operators and welders.
Others are; restaurants owners, market vendors, youth leaders, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), produce dealers, mechanics, tailors, journalists, performing artistes, veterans, fishermen and elected leaders.
In an exclusive interview with ChimpReports, Ssenkubuge noted that despite its good intentions, the project will receive maximum criticism from a section of politicians due to its timing and the way it is being implemented.
“Capitalizing SACCOs is a very good initiative but the question comes; is it genuine capitalization? Because I believe when you bring something good like this when we are just four months close to elections, most people, including the beneficiaries, will automatically politicize it, others will view it as a political gift and it fails to do its intended purpose,” Ssenkubuge said.
“Job creation and supporting of the already existing Small and Medium Enterprises is key in curbing unemployment which affects mostly the youth and women. That is why such government initiatives would be good.”
This money, Ssenkubuge opines, should have been given to groups after one or two years of their formation to recapitalize the already functioning SACCOs instead of “pumping money in people who have combined together with a major objective of sharing it and the initiative dies off like that.”
While launching the initiative recently, Haruna Kasolo, the State Minister for Microfinance said that the government aims at pumping Shs 260bn in the initiative, which will be implemented at a Constituency level.
Each Constituency will receive Shs 560m where each group will get Shs 30m as seed capital.
“So in every Constituency, we are creating 18 SACCOs where members doing the same business will come together and get this money to boost their businesses. The saving and loaning will be done at the Parish level and the money shall be kept at Constituency level,” he noted
Kasolo said that Kampala will receive an extra share of Shs 50bn, where a total of 850 SACCOs shall be created, because it is where the large numbers of beneficiaries are expected.
On the issue of politicization, Kasolo told journalists that despite the coming elections, the government is still in charge, implying that its projects have to continue.
“Otherwise we wouldn’t have come to Kampala which is opposition dominated. The programme should not be politicized,” he said.
Ssenkubuge noted that his major worry is the government pumping money in groups which have come together with an aim of sharing it not using it to develop and end poverty amongst themselves.
“People have debts, when this money comes, it is just wasted and the other thing is the financial managers of the SACCOs, you may find someone like the treasurer has never managed even Shs 1m and you are entrusting him or her with over Shs 10m. The end results is him running away and leaving others in tears, proper training is key,” he said.
“Every generation is called to solve the biggest challenge of their day. We have to ask ourselves what ours is and have the boldness to solve it,” he concluded.