ARUA. He may have been killed but his memory and legacy remain behind with those who still remember him, and that is why a section of residents in Arua municipality have attributed the rapid success of Arua mother city savings and credit cooperative organization (SACCO) to late Ibrahim Abiriga.
Members say it was late Ibrahim Abiriga, the then Arua municipality Member of Parliament who encouraged them to start the SACCO so as to move out of poverty thus taking their voice to the head of State.
Arua mother city SACCO which boosts 45 affiliated groups in the 11 districts of West Nile and with about 5000 registered members officially started in June 2018 but was already operational since 2009.
Mr Matata Asiku, the chairman of the SACCO said: “When we started this SACCO, its Abiriga who supported us a lot in our programs since it’s only this SACCO which promotes NRM with everything they have”.
“It is also Abiriga who took our voice to the Parliament to be known that there is Arua mother city SACCO where President Yoweri Museveni promised to give us UGX350M,” Asiku said.
Mr Salim Saleh Drasi, the manager of the SACCO said the savings institution was started with the aim of helping vulnerable women to save them from hard conditions of the big financial institutions which have made them run away from homes.
Mr Swali Atama, the director of the SACCO noted that whatever they are doing, they attribute it to Abiriga because he helped them a lot.
“Late Abiriga loved everyone, he united us here into one entity, that is why we want his legacy to live on and to promote the NRM party in the municipality,” he said.
The condition for one to qualify as a member is, however, to be an NRM party member if you want to get assistance from the SACCO.
Ms Mary Gutru Omaa, one of the group members said the SACCO has helped women to minimize domestic violence since they are now self-reliant.
“This SACCO has really helped us so much, it has helped the vulnerable people and the neglected people. It makes us concentrate on our work and be active.
Now women don’t mind whether the men are there or not because they have their own money,” she said.
Ms Karim Raima, a member said she was compelled to join the group with the aim of making her family life better.
Raima said with the money she borrowed from the SACCO last year, she has seen some change in her life through the second-hand clothes she is selling in Arua town.
“I was given UGX5M which I invested in my business of selling second-hand clothes. The business is doing so well and I can now buy food at home and pay for my three children’s school fees without any problem,” Raima said.
During the launch at Oli Division headquarters, the Arua deputy resident district commissioner Ms Alice Akello Apio appealed to the SACCO managers to be transparent in the management of their members’ monies.
“My advice to the members is you know money is the source of all evil as we used to learn from school, money is very tempting. I therefore caution the managers of this SACCO that they should be very trustworthy and not to give money to only relatives, their friends, and wives but give it to everyone to benefit,” she said.
She urged the administrators of the SACCO to first give financial literacy training to the women before advancing them the money to avoid misuse.
According to Mr Hamza Ondoga, the chairperson organizing committee of the launch ceremony, Arua mother city SACCO has savings worth UGX180M of which they give out UGX5M to members and groups affiliated to the SACCO on annual basis at an interest rate of 10 per cent per annum.
“Our members, especially from the village, parish, and sub-county saving groups, come through their respective SACCOs to borrow money from us and we normally give each group and direct members UGX5M to be paid at an interest rate of 10 per cent per annum which is cost-effective compared to other financial institutions,” Ondoga explained.
He said the groups are usually registered at a fee of UGX50, 000 and after paying the money, they become their full partners to benefit from the UGX5M every year.