Government has praised Stanbic Bank’s latest bailout plan to local farmers and entrepreneurs as Uganda’s economy returns starts to pick up from Covid-19 effects.
Stanbic Bank on Friday launched an affordable financing and digital skilling plan, promising to avail cheap loans to farmers in the Eastern region who have for long been producing for subsistence purposes alone.
Justine Kasule Lumumba, the Minister for General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister said the Stanbic Bank programme aligns well with government’s much anticipated Parish Development Model and that it will bolster SACCO operations in the country.
“Our people here (Eastern Region) have for long been producing only for subsistence purposes simply due to lack of cheap and affordable loans from commercial banks. This Stanbic SACCO offering comes in handy and will help many farmers to improving their income and hence improve their economic status,” Ms. Lumumba who was guest of honor said.
Ms. Anne Juuko, the Chief Executive at Stanbic Bank said the new effort is aimed at revitalising the operations for Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (SACCOs) and Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) across the country.
The new financial offering will see SACCOs from all over Uganda accessing finances from Stanbic bank at an annual interest rate of 10% for Agriculture based operators and 12. 5% for other SACCOs outside agriculture.
Juuko said told reporters at the sidelines of the launch that the move will help make SACCOs and VSLAs more appealing to their members and other stakeholders by giving greater focus on three key areas namely, lending, investments and savings.
This, she added, is aimed at supporting SACCOs with accessible and affordable financing so that they could lend to their members at a low interest rate but also build SACCOs’ digital capacity to serve their members better.
“We are very excited to be going back to our roots of being the people’s bank. What we seek to do in this new SACCOs Offering is to share our years of expertise and build capacity of the SACCOs to operate at the same level of excellence and in a modern manner. In addition to giving them loans at a small interest, we will also train them to use our online platforms like Flexipay so that they can handle their finances better,” she said.
Officials explained that beneficiaries will be offered an opportunity to open a SACCO account.
This will feature free cash and cheque deposits, free transfers into the account from members and free cash withdrawals.
Other benefits of the account include, free online banking, no monthly management fees, tiered interest paid on balances above UGX10 million, financial literacy sessions for both management and selected members, as well as participation in capacity building programmes at the Stanbic business incubator.
Juuko said Stanbic bank will also provide core banking capabilities including savings account management, credit and cash management, back-office accounting and financial reporting, deposit/withdrawals from the SACCO account among other digital trainings.
On their part, SACCO leaders across the eastern region asked Stanbic Bank to help them digitalize most of their operations and services including evaluation, disbursement and collecting of funds so as to reduce on their cost of operations which their say is their biggest challenge at the moment