Kiryandongo: The youths in Kiryandongo District are at the top of the list of defaulters in government special interest livelihood support programs under the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development.
This was discovered during a stakeholders meeting convened by the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development on Wednesday, January 31st, at the District headquarters.
According to Caroline Rukundo Benda, the Supervisor of Recovery and Skills Development at the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development, out of the 1.17 billion disbursed to the youth beneficiary groups in Kiryandongo, only 261 million shillings have been recovered since the inception of the youth livelihood program during the financial year 2013/2014.
This poor recovery rate ranks the youths as leading defaulters compared to the women who received 428.5 million shillings under the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP) and have paid back 102.6 million shillings.
“We need to recover the funds so other groups can benefit. Kiryandongo did not recover money during the previous financial year, and this is affecting the indicative planning figure for the district,” said Rukundo.
She also called upon the subcounty chairpersons and other special interest group leaders to mobilize the beneficiaries and ensure the funds are recovered for others to utilize.
During the meeting, Elizabeth Adong, the Deputy CAO of Kiryandongo, implored the CDOs to regularly share reports about the recovery by beneficiary groups with leaders and focal persons to track the progress.
She noted that the defaulters under YLP and UWEP are the same in other government programs like Emyooga. Adong added that there is a need for a clear system of tracking beneficiaries to avoid defaulters from benefiting from future programs.
Nelson Osaga, the LC III chairman, called upon the technical staff to work hand in hand with the political leaders to monitor the beneficiaries and ensure they recover the funds. Osaga also alleged that some groups, such as Kisweka cassava growing, which received 12 million, were ghosts, which has made recovery very difficult.
Edith Aliguma Adyeri, the district chairperson asked the LCIII Kyankende to provide evidence of ghost groups so that the suspects could be apprehended.
“If what the Chairman, LC III of Kyankende, is saying is true, we must investigate it and apprehend the suspects. We should not be bothering innocent people to refund what they did not receive,” said Aliguma.
To ensure recovery, the stakeholders asked the CAO to summon defaulting groups so they could discuss rescheduling their repayment plans and apprehend those who would not appear.
However, this attracted mixed reactions from the Benjamin Muhumuzathe District youth chairman, who said summons may lead the youths into selling land and other property to repay the money received.
Elizabeth Adong, the Deputy CAO of Kiryandongo, assured the stakeholders that the office of the CAO will summon the defaulters and apprehend those who will not cooperate in repayment. Adong added that summoning and apprehending will safeguard the district from queries raised in the Auditor General’s report.
Aliguma called upon all the stakeholders to own the strategies for recovering the funds and implement them immediately. Aliguma commended groups such as Pii-Akeyo Community Catering Services, which received $11.9 million and paid it back fully.
“I want to commend groups that have managed to pay back the money on time, and in case they apply for refinancing, they should be considered,” said Aliguma.
She further noted that the interest of the district goes beyond the recovery of the funds disbursed to the beneficiaries but rather ensuring their household incomes and livelihoods are improved.
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