IBANDA – The minister of state for Microfinance Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo has upheld that it is illegal for Saccos to inflate interest rates beyond 8 percent per annum.
The minister who is monitoring Saccos under Emyooga program in Ibanda North at a function organized at Ishongororo Sub County, Ibanda North said he is not impressed with the decision to increase interest rates per annum.
One of the most contentious issues in Ibanda has been the interest rate under the Emyooga program.
Under the Emyooga guidelines, it is clear that SACCO members must get credit at 8 per cent per annum. In Ibanda North some SACCOs leaders told Abdul Bisaso the deputy national coordinator of Emyooga program that they are charging 24 percent per annum.
They claim that the percentage was passed by the SACCO’s Annual General Meeting.
“I have heard that your interest rates are now at 24 percent per annum, this is theft! You should know the intentions of the program.”
He added: “I am giving an order that this should stop now. The cabinet passed a resolution that it should be at 8 percent per annum and that is it.”
According to Kasolo, Ibanda North whose savings under the Emyooga program is approximately Shs100 million has not performed well compared to parts in Central Uganda.
The beneficiaries spoke in unison that they need more seed capital but Kasolo questioned if that would be a wise move.
Throughout the Emyooga monitoring tour the minister has made it clear that Saccos which have performed well will get an injection of Shs20 Million yearly starting this year.
“The money is already here and soon the technocrats will determine the best performing Saccos,”he said.
Kasolo lauded technocrats such as the District Commercial Officer for spearheading the implementation of the Emyooga program.
The minister concluded his tour of Ibanda district which has spanned over two days encouraging people to take Emyooga to another level.
In his remarks, Ibanda North Member of Parliament (MP) Xavier Kyooma said the entire Ankole sub-region has embraced the Emyooga program.
“This program has been accepted and the leaders here have been supportive. The political leaders have maintained the policy of eyes on and hands off,” he said.
Kyooma who described himself as a great ally of the minister of state for Microfinance Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo challenged his constituents who are mainly farmers to tap into Emyooga.
“We produce a lot of maize. We produce a lot of crops here but I think what is missing is organization and that is what Emyooga is helping us with,” Kyooma said reminding Emyooga beneficiaries that the funds are revolving.
“You borrow. You pay back and others also get a chance to borrow. If you do not pay back you will be in trouble with authorities.”