In the five years since it launched, a Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (SACCOS) launched by the Diocese of Ankole has continued to grow, its Bishop, Fred Sheldon Mwesigwa, has said. Writing in the New Vision newspaper, Bishop Fred says that the Ankole Diocesan Millennium SACCOS, which was launched in December 2012, now has 6,084 members, 18 staff and branches in Mbarara, Ibanda, Rugaaga, Kabuyanda, Kinoni and Bishop Stuart University.
Its members have bought shares in the SACCOS worth 594,408,760 Ugandan shillings (approximately £115,000 GBP). Its customers have invested savings in excess of 1.3 bn shillings; and the SACCOS has a loan portfolio of 1.4 bn shillings. This is “a fairly good financial position with a good indicator of financial growth from zero to where we are now,” the bishop said.
“Unlike big financial institutions like banks, ordinary people find it easy to buy shares in our SACCOS and look to the possibility of earning dividends and improving their livelihoods. It is reassuring to note that although the SACCOS started small with a lot of trepidation from some stakeholders, there has been steady progress in member confidence to buy shares, make fixed deposits and to take loans which in turn bring in profits to the SACCO that members share.”
The SACCOS was established to help Ugandans in the diocesan area gain access to financial services. In 2009, only 28 per cent of Uganda’s population had access to financial services, the bishop said. “Most small and medium scale enterprises and households obtain credit from informal financial service providers commonly known as Kafunas. There is a challenge especially in rural areas of low saving culture, low capacity in credit management and levels of credit worthiness.”