- 5O billion Uganda shillings earmarked for Northern region SACCOs
- SACCO leaders warned against running away with member's funds
- Gen. Saleh lauds Satanbic for this initiative
General Salim Saleh, the National Coordinator for Operation Wealth Creation has commended Stanbic Bank for easing the process to access low cost financing for agriculture based Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs).
Gen. Saleh who was officiating at the launch of Stanbic’s SACCO proposition for Northern Uganda at the Kaunda Grounds, Bardege Division in Gulu noted that it is commendable that Uganda’s largest bank is coming off its high-horse to partner with local SACCOs.
‘’I would like to applaud the leadership of Annie Juuko for recognizing the importance of financial inclusion as a critical pillar in a gender of driving Uganda’s growth which happens to be your organizational purpose’’. Saleh said.
He further noted that he hopes stanbic is going to do what he would have done if he was still the owner of that bank.
‘’You Wanainchi don’t know that I had captured that bank when was still Uganda commercial bank but the system threw me out of it’’. He added. Normally, a SACCO would have to provide a stream of documents to even access one million shillings in a commercial bank. But with this new offering, you have made borrowing easy for SACCOs and our farmers.
Your efforts, combined with the government efforts and programs like the Parish Development Model, Operation Wealth Creation, will help deliver households out of poverty,” he said.
Stanbic Bank Uganda, through its US$40m Economic Enterprise Restart Fund which was pooled by development partners, is currently lending to SACCOs in the agricultural sector at 10% annually and has since last year (when the fund started lending) disbursed over UGX20bn to nearly 2000 farmer groups around the country.
On her part, Ms. Annie Juuko, the Chief Executive Officer of stanbic bank said that the Bank has put a side UGX50 billion shillings for Northern Uganda SACCOs alone for the next 12 months.
"This money is not a gift and will only be given to qualifying SACCOs. Our new proposition shows the bank’s unwavering commitment to facilitating Uganda's growth by availing credit to critical sectors such as agriculture, crucial for job creation and income generation.
She urged people in northern Uganda to use this opportunity to fight against the war of poverty in their pockets.
The proposition is aimed at improving the financial management capacity of SACCOs and Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs).
The bank is quoting an affordable 10% interest rate for SACCOs in the agriculture sector and 12.5% for non-agricultural SACCOs together with an unsecured term loan of up to UGX200 million with a tenor of not more than 12 months.
The other option is a secured term loan of up to UGX1.5 billion with a tenor of between 12 and 36 months maximum.
Juuko said, “We are hopeful that a product like this will have a measurable impact on the lives of our people on the ground. What we seek to do with this SACCO offering is to share our years of expertise and build the capacity of these organizations to operate at the same level of excellence and in a modern manner, similar to that of a bank.
In addition to giving them loans at affordable interest rates, we will also train them to use our online platforms like Flexi pay so that they can handle their finances better. They will also benefit from insurance packages that we are offering as a bank.”
The Woman Member of Parliament, Gulu City Betty Aol Ochan advised business owners not to opt for unregulated money lenders who offer financial bailouts at exorbitant rates and unrealistic terms and borrowers end up having their properties confiscated.
“Money lenders are lending money at 10% interest rate per month and some people think it is small, but if you are paying for a month, you have paid an interest of 120%. No business can survive at such a rate.
SACCOs are one of the major avenues through which common Ugandans/farmers and who form the majority of the country’s productive population, can pool efforts together to address challenges that currently affect agriculture in Uganda,” she said.
Gulu city Lord Mayor, Alfred Okwonga said, “We have a problem in business leadership. We need exposure to train our businesses in ago-processing so that they can be able to export and broaden their enterprises and create more jobs.”
Beneficiaries will be offered an opportunity to open a SACCO Account which features free cash and cheque deposits, free transfers into the account from members and free cash withdrawals.