The Minister of Gender, Labor and Social Affairs, Janat Mukwaya has said the government will continue arresting group members who will fail to pay back the loans that were given under the youth and women fund project.
The minister revealed this while addressing the press about the findings from the countrywide monitoring on the progress and effectiveness of the said fund that has been going on in the last few months.
Mukwaya noted that women groups, especially those from Kisoro, Kabale and Isingiro effectively used the loans, while the youth groups had challenges ranging from members running from groups, mismanagement of funds and failure to report unavoidable problems which left some groups unable to pay back the loans.
“Before this money was given out to these groups, they were sensitized and informed that this was a revolving loan and not a handout. Also if the project was destroyed because of factors that were beyond their control, the members were required to make a report to the sub-country officer who will then come to certify the truth. If a group didn’t do that, then they will have no defense and will have to pay money back even if it means arresting them,” Mukwaya said.
She added: “this is a revolving fund and we want every unemployed youth in the country to benefit. If the groups cannot pay back, then we will have no money to give to other groups so they have to refund.”
The minister also asked the various groups to come out and report any forms of extortion or corruption from district officers.
“Forms for application for the loan are free. What we require you to pay is the money given to you and a small percentage (5%) which is mainly to cover for inflation. The loan is supposed to be paid in 1 to3 years. Officers who are asking for money to register you or a token in order to appear on the list of receipients are doing it wrong, which is why you need to report them,” Mukwaya advised.