By Drake Nyamugabwa
Plans to reinstall the Uganda cooperative bank are in high gear. According to the State Minister for Cooperatives, Frederick Ngobi Guma, president of Uganda, H.E Yoweri Museveni has accepted to help farmers restart their cooperative bank. “What remains are the cooperatives to organize themselves. However, we want to avoid making the same mistakes that were made years back, hence the need to get the liquidation report,” Ngobi said.
The Minister relayed the message during the 50th general meeting for Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA) that took place last Monday at Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala.
He added: “I have written to the Governor Bank of Uganda and by next week, officials from the bank have promised to meet us and provide the report. After that, it will be up to the Uganda cooperative alliance to quicken preparations for the commencement of the bank.”
The Minister noted that the current sources of finances; like banks and other loan offers, which are given at high interest rates, cannot help farmers because agriculture is a long term business that cannot make maximum profits in a short term. “So far, we have over 7 million farmers who are in cooperatives. These farmers need a bank that can not only offer them low interest loans, but also give them financial and market oriented advice, that they can use to modernize agriculture as a step towards achieving a middle income status,” Ngobi said.
He however, noted that this kind of bank needed good planning and cooperation from the leaders of cooperatives. “I ask you to concentrate on eliminating conflicts in co-operations. Work towards building harmony and solidarity, especially with the ministry because the success of your cooperatives will depend on working together.”
The secretary general of UCA, Ivan Asiimwe noted that the cooperation has embarked on publicizing the cooperative bank to make it known to the general public.
“For years, cooperatives have not been real active but we are now ready to make them new and active again. We want cooperatives to be at the forefront of fighting poverty in Uganda,” Asiimwe said.