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Museveni's Gift to Owino Fire Victims is not Free

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Traders at Owino Park Yard Market, who lost their goods in a fire in February this year, are not receiving any more handouts. Those who want to benefit from money given to them by President Yoweri Museveni are required to undergo an intensive investment and savings course.
The fire, whose cause still hasn't been established, crippled more than 100,000 people that depend on the market to make a living. In its wake several offers of relief aid, money and technical assistance were made to the vendors. Perhaps most noticeable was an offer of one billion shillings from President Yoweri Museveni.
The traders celebrated the announcement of the gift from President Museveni. Many of them were shocked to learn that the gift wasn't free. It is a loan that will accrue a small interest over a period of time.
In order for the traders to benefit from it, they must be part of a savings group and they must undergo training.
Medi Kiragonja isn't amused by this development. He says the fire left him with nothing. What he wants is an interest-free loan to help him restart his used-garments business.
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The Uganda Cooperative Savings and Credit Union is overseeing training of the market vendors.
Wilson Kabanda, the organization's General Manager, says the traders are being taught skills in investment, bookkeeping, saving and entrepreneurship. He explains that the goal is to assist the traders to grow their businesses from small shacks to meaningful small enterprises.
So far President Museveni has delivered 200 million shillings to the training. The cost of training is not included in this and is offered free to anyone willing to participate in it.
Once they are trained, the traders are expected to form groups of five in order to receive the money from the Kampala United Park Yard Savings and Credit Society. The five people are accountable to each other to pay back the loan.
Abubaker Mulinde, a member of the Kampala United Park Yard Savings board, says the loan is being offered at an interest of 17 percent per year. He says this is to help in the management and recovery of the money.
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Milly Nalukwago says she has benefited a lot from the training. She says that although she hasn't been ale to recover all her stock, her business of selling used ladies shoes is growing steadily.
Nalukwago says the training enabled her to properly document her daily expenses and revenue and to keep a tab on savings and other investments outside her work.

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