The UPDF SACCO, known as the Wazalendo Savings and Credit Cooperative Society Limited (WSACCO) has hit an asset base of shs271.1 billion.
This was revealed on Wednesday during the Sacco’s 13th annual general meeting held at the Uganda Military Engineering College (UMEC) in Lugazi, Mukono District aimed at sharing and reviewing the performance and operations of the Sacco for the year ended (January to December 2018).
Speaking at the function, the Chief of Defence Forces in the UPDF, Gen. David Muhoozi hailed the progress of the Sacco, equating it to a teenager who has performed “exceptionally” well before becoming an adult.
“We have done well and we should maintain and improve the welfare of our members,” Gen Muhoozi told members, adding that it is the duty of the leadership to maintain the sound relationship with the Sacco members to provide reliable solutions that can fight poverty.
He said there must be trust between the leadership and members to have a SACCO that can transform the lives of its members and not just accumulation of figures.
“We need to come up with smart innovations, build strong consensus with members, understand the critical importance of the SACCO and design simple and clear messages to all members for WSACCO to do even better.”
Gen Muhoozi encouraged members to invest in assets that generate income like commercial buildings as opposed to investment in luxurious items that yield short term benefits
According to the Sacco’s Board Chairman and Deputy Commander Land Forces, Maj Gen Sam Kavuma, the Sacco provides an opportunity for the UPDF fraternity to come together and accumulate a fund that betters their welfare and prepare them for life after retirement.
He noted that with effect from last year, the society’s monthly retirement savings on salary increased from 7% to 10% and were followed by a reduction in the refinancing period from 75% to 50% on top of a reduction in interest rates from 15% to 13% .
He said that the asset base had grown from shs219.1 billion last year to Shs 271.1 billion over the last financial year and attributed the growth to the rolled out refinancing that enabled members access more loans on top of their existing loans.
Maj.Gen. Kavuma encouraged members to continue saving by revisiting their enterprise selection and investing in real assets that generate income to fill the liquidity shortfall.
“Any Ugandan who exploits the country’s green cover, fertile soils, favourable climate, abundant water, forests and mountains, cannot fail to improve their welfare,” he urged.
He however warned on investing in luxuries like cars.
Members adopted and approved the proposal to issue bonuses to shareholders by appreciating the share value from shs10,000 to Shs 15,000 and extending the maximum loan period from 4 to 5 years, increasing the loan size from Shs 40m to Shs 80m, among others.
The Wazalendo Sacco is a Ministry of Defence and UPDF Cooperative society that enables its members to come together and pool savings that can help them access loans to engage in productive activities in a bid to improving their welfare. It was registered in Sept 2005.
The army Sacco, registered in 2005, is the biggest Sacco in Uganda with 70,087 members.
The Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga has urged more Ugandans to join savings and credit cooperative organizations (SACCOs) around the country and improve their livelihoods.
Kadaga said that the cooperatives have contributed to the wellbeing of many Ugandans calling for increased membership in the SACCOs.
The Speaker made the remarks while launching the Balyegera Kwiife SACCO based in Bupadhengo sub-county, Kamuli District on Friday, 04 January 2019.
Kadaga boosted the SACCO operations with shs2 million and two sewing machines which she said ought to help the members to earn a living and in turn support their families and the community at large.
"I know many women are engaged in tailoring so these machines will help them to serve the community and get money to support their families," Kadaga said.
The Chairperson of the Baryegera Kwiife SACCO, Ali Mpasa, said that since its inception, several groups have been established through the organization which were building the community socio-economically.
"We have several associations that impact positively in our area including one for Boda-bodas, a farmers' group, a women's development group and a sports club for the youth," Mpasa said.
He told the Speaker that their agricultural efforts had not yielded due to the harsh drought conditions and thus called on her support to the SACCO with agricultural inputs.
Kadaga on her part committed to engage Kasolwe Stock Farm in Kamuli district to provide quality seeds and other agricultural stock that can boost their farming operations.
"I know how tough the dry season has been; I will talk to the managers at Kasolwe to provide your SACCO with some seeds and animals that you can rear to boost your incomes," said the Speaker.
A new law has been drafted to safeguard the savings made by SACCO members following cases of funds mismanagement and fraud.
In the new law, directors of SACCO will be vetted to eliminate criminal officials from the sector. Additionally, it seeks to establish an investigative department that will look into irregular activities within the deposit-taking institutions.
SACCOs in Kenya are regulated by the SACCO Societies Regulatory Authority. The SACCO Societies Act and Co-operative Societies Act provide the legal framework for the running the institutions.
They are a key source of credit to many Kenyans in the informal sector. The institutions are a major driver of economic growth in the country. In 2017, SACCOs issued Ksh331 billion worth of credit to sectors such as real estate, agriculture, trade, and manufacturing. Additionally, SACCOs provide a platform for members to save and grow their wealth.
A report by SACCO regulator shows that at the end of 2017, deposit taking SACCOs had 3.1 million active members with an asset base of Ksh442.3 billion equivalent to 5.9 per cent of the GDP.