Uganda: ‘Police Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO) savings are accessible’
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives has assured Parliament that members’ savings in the Police Exodus Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO) are now accessible.
Robert Waiswa Mpakibi, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of Cooperatives in the ministry said that the Exodus Sacco has regularised its governance, complied with laws and regulations and streamlined its access to savings.
“By the time the new leadership took office in 2019, there were various operational challenges and access to members’ savings was postponed for some time for systems to be streamlined…there was need to reconstruct members’ books of accounts to establish who had what. After this, savings became accessible following the digitalization of processes,” Mpakibi said.
Mpakibi said this on Thursday, 09 March 2023 while leading officials from the Department of Cooperatives who were appearing before the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs to respond to queries regarding the management of the Police Sacco.
In February this year, Parliament directed the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs to investigate the operations of the Police Sacco following complaints of forced savings by police officers and challenges in accessing their savings.
According to the Deputy Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Milton Muwuma, Exodus management has restricted access to savings to only twice a year under the watch of the Department of Cooperatives which is mandated to supervise, regulate and promote an enabling environment for development of sustainable cooperatives.
“We have Uganda Parliamentary Sacco but we do access our money any time. But you people endorsed and allowed management to dictate that members access their money twice a year. Even someone with an emergency cannot access his or her money,” Muwuma said.
Mpakibi said this was a resolution that was adopted by the delegates during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in order to incorporate a retirement scheme as a new product.
He said the decision can be reversed by the delegates if Parliament deems it right.
The committee also questioned why the Police Sacco operates under the delegates system which they said is discriminatory and locks out majority members from attending the AGM.
The delegates are voted from districts, police stations, divisions and other specialised units.
“There seems to be a communication gap in the affairs of the Exodus Sacco. We have not heard any complaints from other Saccos like Wazalendo. I think the management of this Sacco needs to be inclusive,” Hon. Godfrey Wakooli (NRM, Butiru County) said.
Mpakibi said the delegates system was preferred based on the large size of the Uganda Police and their operations making it practically difficult to have all officers attend the AGM.
Exodus Sacco is a savings programme that was registered in 2007. Its membership consists of Uganda Police Force fraternity premised on improving household income through savings and easing accessibility to cheap credit.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.