The State Minister for Microfinance, Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo has said getting rich in Uganda will now become compulsory for every Ugandan.
“Becoming wealthy is now compulsory. You can no longer decide not to do it. This is not for fun but serious business. If you don’t want to become rich, leave Uganda and go to other countries,”Kasolo said.
The minister was on Tuesday speaking in Bughendera County constituency in Bundibugyo district as he resumed the monitoring of the performance of the Emyooga program in Rwenzori region.
Kasolo said government has in the past introduced many programs aimed at ensuring the wellbeing of the population but many have been ignored.
He noted that with Emyooga, government will make sure no one is left behind in the fight against poverty.
“We have now made wealth creation a government policy. It is no longer a choice but compulsory. You remember a time when people refused to take children for immunization claiming their children would be killed? We sent RDCs to enforce immunization and the results are visible. If we had not done that, we couldn’t succeed. Now we no longer have whooping cough, measles and polio among other diseases.”
The minister said that poverty has existed in the country because people and government were taking it lightly but noted that in this new term, it will no longer be business as usual.
“Wealth creation is now compulsory. We have recruited parish chiefs and will be given computers to register all residents in the parish whose names will be put in the national database. If it’s a man, we want to know, how many wives he has. We must plan for you with clear understanding of who you are. All of you must be in economic activity. You must have a daily income generating activity,” he said.
“As government, we know you don’t have capital to start up your businesses. It is the reason we came up with Emyooga . The program is not for sharing money amongst yourselves. That is a wrong mentality that most of you have, The Emyooga fund is meant to be revolving. In this term we will not allow poverty to flourish.”
According to officials from the Microfinance Support Centre, the government agency implementing the program, Bundibugyo district received shs1.1 billion as Emyooga seed capital with 36 being beneficiaries of the money.
It was also reported that the saccos managed to save a total of shs57million and shs30 million as share capital.
The Microfinance Support Centre officials told the minister that they found a number of challenges including poor mindset of the locals towards the program, defaulting on loan repayment and poor saving culture.
The minister however, asked the District Commercial Officer, Joyce Tusabe to make a list of all the loan defaulters and forward it to him.
“We have given them [defaulters] one month to pay back that money. We have partnered with local radio stations. They are going to remind you. Every presenter on the radio will have five minutes to read out the names of defaulters to remind them to pay back the money. Even if you are the one who guarded the vote of the president, if you default Emyooga funds, we are going to arrest you. And if you are the Sacco leader who ate the money, we are going to arrest and ashame you. You will have to pay it back,”Kasolo warned.
Whereas some of the beneficiaries told the minister that they had been affected by Covid and consequently could not repay their loans, Kasolo said this was not an excuse.
“Emyooga is in all constituencies across the country. All the constituencies got shs560m. All constituencies were hit by COVID-19. This program came when we were all in elections. Effective now, I don’t want to hear those excuses.”