NTUNGAMO – President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday launched a Social Economic Empowerment Programme in Ntungamo district and urged Ugandans to take advantage of government programmes and other natural resources like land to work and fight poverty.
“Leaders, you have to tell people to work and get out of poverty. Everybody should engage in income-generating work; we won’t tolerate those that don’t want to work when they have land.
Those without land can support them to engage in other specialization,” Mr Museveni said.
Under the Social Economic Empowerment Programme, members will come together and form groups where those with business plans of small enterprises will access loans at one percent interest.
The President asked those owning saloons, the welders, carpenters, boda-boda cyclists, restaurant owners, tailors, mechanics, women, PWDSs, agriculture produce dealers, vendors and taxi operators to form and register the groups in these specializations and government will give them startup capital.
“You can eventually grow and become a bank. Centenary (Rural Development) Bank started in the same way. There was no government; it’s now competing with international banks. This will enable you to use your (group) money instead of going to commercial banks that charge you highly (for borrowing their money)” Mr Museveni said.
He added that those with small pieces of land from half acre can carry out fruit growing, zero grazing, coffee growing, poultry and piggery.
Mr Museveni said that while many people now have built good houses and dress very well they are still living below prosperity, and can do better and get rich if they commit to working hard using their resources and with government support. “True there is development , people have built good houses and you dress well than in the past, but what income do you have even when you have that good house? I want you to move from that level of being fairly well off to become rich,” Mr Museveni said.
He further said there are enough models in communities and urged people to copy and learn from their neigbours to bring economic transformation to their families as well.
The programme will be run by Free and Rich Uganda, which is owned by Mr Rodgers Aijuka, the Director Rap Tech Institue that trains youth in entrepreneurship skills.
“I asked Mzee to come and support you who have small enterprises. There are many groups formed after the training by (Enterprise Uganda Executive director Charles) Ocici. The services that used to take people to Kampala are nowhere. This is going to relive people hustle of travelling to Kampala,” he said.