todayMay 8, 2024

By Proscovia Achomo

The Uganda Cooperative Alliance is planning to revitalize the National Cooperative Bank, Ivan Asiimwe, the General Secretary of Uganda Cooperative Alliance revealed this during a recent stakeholders` regional consultative meeting in Gulu City. "We are holding regional consultative meetings with a variety of cooperators and Sacco leaders, PDM and Emyooga coordinators, among others to have this achieved, he Remarked."

Mr. Asiimwe added that this bank will rescue farmers who would wish to obtain loans from the bank to acquire the loans at extremely cheaper interest rates of between 6% and 7% compared to if they to get from the other commercial banks where they charge high loan interest rates of more than twenty percent.

Furthermore, Mr. Asiimwe appealed the heads of saccos and cooperatives to support this initiative in order for them to succeed in opening this cooperative bank, stressing that they will require a minimum of 150 billion shillings to get started.

Meanwhile, Hon. Charles Geoffrey Okello, Member of Parliament for Nwoya East, who is also a cooperator and a member of the committee on tourism, trade, industry, and cooperatives, cooperatives was quick to note that they have wasted a lot of time as cooperators without a bank, which they ought to refer to as an indigenous bank. "We have always faced a lot of hardships going to commercial banks for loans whwre they charge us highly and harshly, the birth our cooperative Bank will be a big game changer, he stressed."
"The government should support this initiative, the government of Uganda should borrow a leave from Kenya, where the government has actively supported SACCOs and cooperatives in the banking and public transportation sectors, with the majority of Kenyan banks being owned by Saccos and cooperatives, he added."

 A group of Cooperators from Northern Uganda pose for a group photo.

The vice chairperson of the Uganda Cooperatives Alliance board and a board member of Nebbi Area Cooperative Enterprise, Ms. Emmanuela Oroma, expressed gratitude to the government for approving the plan to resurrect the Cooperative Bank, noting that this will significantly reduce the commercial banks' ability to manipulate farmers.

Ms. Maracto Lillian a young cooperator from Nebbi Cooperatives area revealed that since joining cooperatives, her life has significantly improved in terms of finances and trainings, which she claims are helping her a lot in aspect of life skills. "I urge my fellow young people and women to join cooperatives since they will help us to thrive." , she stressed.

During the consultative meeting, Mrs. Jane Francess Amongin Okili, the Gulu City resident city commissioner, said that the bank's establishment will provide farmers with a bank that will relate to them because their savings are meager and they have been growing at a very slow pace. "If you farmers come together and form a cooperative, your income base would grow and you will have access to additional capital, she remarked."

Uganda Cooperatives Alliance currently has over 45,000 registered cooperatives. Bank of Uganda shuttered Uganda Cooperative Bank in 1999 due to claims of incompetence and corruption.

The Cooperative Bank was established in 1964 under the Cooperatives Act.

COVER PHOTO: Hon. Frederick Gume Ngobi, State Minister for Cooperatives, addressing cooperators at Global Friendship Hotel in Gulu city By Proscovia Achomo

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