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Storage Facilities For Co-Operatives To Get Facelift

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The Government is set to rehabilitate dilapidated storage facilities owned by co-operative unions across the country to enable them introduce the receipt system.

Co-operatives state minister Fred Gume said under the receipt system, farmers will be able to deliver their produce to the silos during bumper harvest, where they will be issued with receipts that can enable them get funds from banks as they wait for prices to rise.

Gume made the remarks during the national launch of the capacity building programme for SACCOS and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), that was attended by members of the revamped South Bukedi Cooperative Union (SBCU) at Rock Classic Hotel, Tororo recently.

The function was organised by Stanbic Bank, in partnership with the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and Reign Business Development Agency.

Gume said the Government is going to compensate SBCU for the loss of its property. He cautioned leaders against embezzlement of members’ savings.

“During meetings, the agenda is prolonged so that financial statements and audit reports are discussed last. This is fraud because members are usually exhausted by that time,’’ Gume said.

“Do not make people lose steam in the cooperative movement by borrowing money for marrying more women. You need to learn to save because you will never be successful. The danger of being poor is that you will have less influence in society,’’ he said.

Emma Mugisha, the Stanbic Bank executive director, said they will offer loans to the co-operative unions at 10% per annum, translating into 0.8% per month, improve their efficiency by digitising their operations and continue to build their capacity to improve on the knowledge of running SACCOS.

Mugisha said the bank has built a loan portfolio of sh15b, where western Uganda has taken 50%, eastern 20%, central 28%, while the north has less than 5%. She said each SACCOS can apply for unsecured loans of up to sh200m. Mugisha called on the members to mobilise more SACCOS to benefit.

Dr John Jagwe, the AGRA country manager, said they are happy that Stanbic Bank can lend out to the cooperators at favourable rates.

He said they will continue to extend training, extension and financial services to the farmers to improve their agricultural practices.

Geoffrey Ekanya, the chairman SBCU board, said they are committed to move the co-operative to another level, and called on members to mobilise more people to join the co-operative movement.

John Okeya, the Tororo chairperson, appealed to the members to come up with a common enterprise since cotton growing, which used to be a major cash crop, is no longer widely grown.

Gume (left) greeting Mugisha during the event in Tororo. Filed by Faustine Odeke

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