The government has revealed intentions to publicly identify individuals who have received funds from the Emyooga program, part of the presidential initiative on wealth and job creation, but have not repaid the money.
Hon Haruna Kasolo Kyeyune, the minister of state for microfinance and small enterprises, while overseeing the Emyooga and Parish Development Model initiatives in Teso, disclosed that within the next month, the microfinance support center, in conjunction with Emyooga coordinators, will publicize the names of defaulters on local radio stations.
The minister addressed the communities of Kaberamaido, Amuria, and Ngora districts on Wednesday, instructing the Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) and commercial officers in the Teso sub-region to compile a list of individuals who have failed to meet their payment obligations. Mr Kyeyune emphasized that those who borrowed but haven’t made repayments will face legal consequences.
Observing the situation, Mr Kyeyune noted that the members of the Sacco groups, in every place he has visited, have not returned the borrowed money to their Sacco accounts. He emphasized that the funds were allocated to enhance their well-being and households through investments, with an expectation for the money to circulate. Mr Kyeyune warned that if repayments are not made within the next 30 days, necessary legal action will be taken against the defaulters.
One of the beneficiaries, Ms Grace Apedun from Wila sub-county, Amuria District, who received Shs600,000, clarified that the funds were received during the challenging period of the Covid-19 lockdown when businesses were largely affected. As a result, she explained that the funds were primarily used for essential needs such as medical treatment and purchasing food.
Mr Gabriel Ejoru, the commercial officer of Kaberamaido district, expressed his dilemma as there is no clear legal framework to prosecute the defaulters, adding to the complexity of the situation. Mr Ejoru highlighted that out of the over Shs10B disbursed to Sacco groups under the Emyooga scheme, nearly 80 per cent has not been recovered.
Mr Vector Rex Ekesu, the chairman of Kaberamaido District, urged the public to approach government projects with a positive attitude, emphasizing the need to utilize the provided seed capital for sustainable benefits rather than immediate consumption.
Ms Clare Ayipo, the deputy Resident District Commissioner, pledged to take decisive action against the defaulters without hesitation.