Gov’t Pledge to Revamp the Cooperative Bank .
By Chrispus Mubale Muke
President Yoweri Museveni has assured Ugandans that government will re-establish a Cooperative Bank, which will act as a gear of uplifting at least 39% of Ugandans who are swimming in pool of poverty.
Farmers have in turn been exploited by the commercial banks whose exorbitant interest ranges between 18% and 22%m leaving them under total losses.
Speaking during the 100th International Day of Cooperatives held in the Sheema district on Saturday, Museveni who was represented by Hon. Francis Mwebesa the Minister for Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives, said that Cooperatives are a vital platform for reviving wealth creation among Ugandans
“Organized Cooperatives have embedded government initiatives that aim at elevating people from poverty such like Emyooga and we have hope in the Parish Development Model,” he said.
This Day is celebrated every first Saturday of the month of July and this year it was celebrated under the theme: Theme Cooperatives Build a Better World.
Mr. Museveni said that Cooperatives have created a milestone in the social-economic transformation of lives in both employment and investment.
“Cooperatives is a magic bullet to uplifting millions of farmers from subsistence farming to the money economy through emphasizing value addition to agricultural produce while improving the spirit of saving which can be achieved through the Cooperative Bank,” he said .
His remarks followed the previous statements made by Johnas Tweyambe, the Board Chairperson for the Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA) Limited who tasked the government to reestablish the Cooperative Bank to uplift the lives of cooperators.
“It is not lost on us; our next agenda is engaging the government to re-establish the Cooperative Bank and solve other issues affecting the cooperative movement in the country” he said .
In Uganda, the day was organized by the Uganda Cooperative Alliance limited (UCA), an apex body that combines all Cooperatives in Uganda and is in charge of advising the government on the issues of cooperatives and also has the legal mandate for arbitration of issues within cooperatives when they arise.
Tweyambe, during the function, decried what he called the increasing taxes on the cooperatives and insists that they hurt affect the institutions that transform millions of lives.
“Save for SACCOs, Government should extend tax exemption to other types of cooperatives for them to efficiently and effectively deliver services to their members,” he said .
The Cooperative Bank, which Museveni promised to restore was formed in 1964, but however, lasted for 35 years before it was closed through unclear circumstances.
Although BoU cited inadequate capitalization and insolvency as reasons for closing the bank.
Recently, Hon. Gume Gobbi the Minister of State for Cooperatives tasked BoU to expedite the report on the issues that lead to the liquidity of the Cooperative Bank.
“You remember there was the stabilization fund which is in the Bank of Uganda, give us the report so that we can start the process,” Minister said.
According to the General Secretary of Uganda Cooperative Alliance, Mr. Asiimwe Ivan, the bank will save cooperators from saving their money in exorbitant commercial banks.