Uganda Today : Revival of Cooperative Bank just can’t be pushed under the carpet because of the momentum the promoters of this cause have picked.
The defunct Cooperative Bank was closed in 1999 by Bank of Uganda on allegations of mismanagement and corruption.
Since then, efforts by the group led by retired Lt. Moses Magufuri Mugisha, led to the honourable members of Parliament to move a motion for a resolution of parliament urging the government to establish a National Agricultural Bank in September 2022.
This culminated into the cabinet to set out to analyze and study the viability of reviving a Cooperative Bank.
80% of Ugandans are engaged in Agriculture
Cognisant of the above fact, government, on several occasion, has run programmes for the economic empowerment of Uganda that have been implemented through different initiatives such the over 250 bn Emyooga fund, 1.1tn for the PDM programme, over 200bn post COVID 19 stimulus funds, ACF funds under the Bank of Uganda, MSC funds held in commercial banks, NAADs funds, Youth livelihood funds, women fund, NUSAF fund, CAAIP, Luweero fund, OWC fund, Micro Finance Support Centre, Presidential Initiatives — Skilling and Value addition, scattered capacity building funds being implemented by MDAs, as well as Bank of Uganda partnering with implementing Commercial Banks, the ultimate vision and well intentioned government agendas have not come to fruition in a sustainable manner because the subsistence farmers have been largely left out.
Most of this programmes go to groups of traders instead of farmers who are alienated from these programmes as this is evidenced by Uganda Bereau of Statistics (UBOS) UNHS 2019/20 report still shows that 3.5 million households (39%) of Uganda’s population is still stuck in subsistence economy (Nkolera Kiida Kyonka) with 62% of these in subsistence agriculture a sign that the programmes are not yielding as envisaged outcome.
Two years ago, His Excellency, the President reiterated the need for value addition and moving Ugandans out of subsistence farming. On the 58th Independence Day Celebration, the President expressly mentioned about the thought of setting up an agricultural bank because farmers get exploited by commercial banks whose interest is profit making without due regard to farming conditions such as gestation period.
With all these voices, it’s apparent that sustainability and self-sufficiency is the key to increased growth and economic upliftment of Ugandans, thus the proposal of hybrid bank that blends the agricultural need and cooperative objective hence the call for an Agriculture and Cooperative Bank to be established. The establishment of an Agriculture and Cooperative Bank is in line with the cooperative societies Act 2019 as amended.