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Apac Suspends Operation of Microfinance Institutions

It has been realized that most small businesses had been operating on loans secured from micro finance and money lending institutions within their localities. They are supposed to be remitting payments back to the institutions who had given money whether the business is running or not.

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Apac District Local Government has temporarily suspended operation of all microfinance and money lending institutions in the district.

The district leadership acted following public outcry that borrowers are having difficulties servicing the loans after President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni's recent  directives issued to control the spread of Coronavirus (COVID -19).

On March 18th President Museveni suspended all social gatherings including markets for a period of 32 days, and on March 25th he subsequently suspended all public transport for 14 days.

Much as the president in his directives has stopped traders from hiking prices, local businessmen are still crying that the government should help and find a solution so that they can do business.

It has been realized that most small businesses had been operating after securing  loans from micro finance and money lending institutions within their localities. They are supposed to be remitting money back to the institutions whether the business is running or not.

Beatrice Akello Akori, the Apac Resident District Commissioner says over 2000 locals borrowed money from different money lending institutions and are now unable to service the loans due to the effect of Coronavirus.

It is for this reason that authorities in Apac district have warned to arrest and revoke the licenses of the money lending operators that will be found chasing their customers to service the loans.

Akello Akori says now that the markets are closed her office has directed the closure of all money lending institutions awaiting the response from the government. She said the perpetrators will have their licenses revoked and handed over to the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives effective.

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She however observed that many locals in the area have resorted to excessive drinking of alcohol what she described as a wrong message and warned them to desist from it.

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Beatrice Aceng, a vendor at Apac Main Market says she borrowed a total of 400,000 Shillings from Brac to start her vegetable business and was servicing her loan well until the ban was effected.

Aceng thanked the district authorities for the intervention calling upon the government to revise on the same as well as the tenants who are now affected to save the citizen from absolute poverty at different households.

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Bazil Odongo, a livestock dealer says he secured 25 million shillings from Acanpekun Credit and Cooperative Society, a local SACCO in the district and was servicing the loan well but he is now having difficulty in servicing it.

Apac District Local Government has a total of 6 fully registered SACCOs, 12 Village Saving Lending Associations (VSLA) and 3 Microfinance institutions operating in the district with over 15,000 clients that are entirely depending on commercial farming.

The affected money lending intuitions include Brac, Platinum Credit, Bayport, Village Saving Lending Associations and 6 registered SACCOs in the district.

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