NEBBI. The government is set to give over shs100 million to enhance the veterans Savings and Credit Co-operative Union (SACCO) in the districts of Nebbi, Pakwach and Zombo (Greater Nebbi).
The minister of state for defence in charge of veterans’ affairs Mr Christopher Kibazanga said they are going to boost the SACCOS and cooperatives of the veterans so that they can become self-sustaining.
He said some of them retired long ago before the enhancement of the salaries of soldiers and when they compute their pensions on the basis of their salaries, it cannot sustain them for the rest of their lives.
“What we need to do is to create some projects for them to supplement their little income because they cannot depend on ex-gratia, pension, and gratuity, since most of them are still young and energetic, they can be involved in production work”, he observed.
He said SACCO is a new concept which is picking up slowly in Uganda and that it is why they are partnering with banks to start visiting the SACCOs already formed and start training them and building their capacities in order for them to work because there are already success stories.
Mr Leonard Ojukoceng, the chairperson greater Nebbi veterans association said the initiative has come timely because last month they formed SACCOs and cooperative societies in all the districts of Pakwach , Nebbi and Zombo.
“We are currently registering members and plans are underway to register the SACCOs with the ministry of cooperatives and I appreciate the government for the timely support”, he said.
Ms Margret Akumu, one of the widows, said the SACCO will help them get cheaper loans to boost their businesses because they have been borrowing money at high interest rates.
“Due to the delay in processing our ex-gratia and pensions, we were forced to borrow loans from banks to start businesses so that we can survive and pay our children in school and now we are struggling to pay back the loans”, she said.
She added that they are committed to see that the SACCO succeeds since it helps in improving their income and not only rely on the little money the government will be paying them as pension.
Greater Nebbi has over 200 registered veterans and three SACCOs, one in each district.