An assessment by a secret team from state house, has recommended that the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government stands to reap multiple benefits from the Women Fund, otherwise known as the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP) if the budget allocation is doubled.
State house has been conducting a clandestine investigation to inform decisions on the future of the programme as the government rolls out the Parish Development Model. This investigation was necessitated after women groups supported by a strong lobby within parliament objected to plans by the government to amalgamate UWEP with other wealth creation programmes.
The team found that whereas other government programmes had little to show for the amount of investment the government has injected, UWEP women beneficiaries are visible on the ground with tangible projects. Earlier, the team headed by the head of Manifesto Implementation Unit, Bashasa had come to a similar conclusion after conducting a monitoring exercise for the Programme. The team found that government had scored highly in fulfilment of the pledge of providing capital to women through UWEP
The state house team is recommending that the benefits of UWEP to government, be it economic or political could be at risk if the programme is amalgamated with other categories given that women form the core of NRM support and have been religiously paying back on their loans compared to other categories who may abscond to the disadvantage of the women who have proven to be trust worth.
“The team also learnt that whereas the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development has been desirous to revolve back money that has been recovered by the Women now amount to 16 Billion, Ministry of Finance stopped them from Revolving yet many women who would have benefited from this money were kept waiting, ” the source at state house team said.
A source at the Ministry of Gender told this publication that the Accountant General had actually given the Ministry greenlight to revolve the funds, but the Ministry of Finance stopped them from revolving arguing that such money needs to be appropriated first.
The state house team is recommending that President Yoweri Museveni reigns in on Finance to allow UWEP to revolve the Money as has been noted by the Auditor General or ask finance to increase the budget allocation for UWEP in the next budget.
Both the Gender and Budget Committees of Parliament had recommended that Shs 32 billion be provided for UWEP in the next budget. The state house team however believes that this would not be sufficient and if Finance cannot find Money they should allow the Ministry to revolve the recovered funds.
“Why antagonise women, we have gauged the feelings of women whether the educated in parliament or the peasants and their resolve is don’t touch our UWEP this is the message we are sending back to the master,” said a member of the state house team.