The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga has received a petition from Tom O’lalobo, a farmer from Nwoya district, over being denied an agricultural credit facility.
O’lalobo, accompanied by Hon. Lily Adong (Nwoya District) met Kadaga over the petition, today, Wednesday 19th April, 2017 in the Speaker’s Chambers at Parliament. He said that he had been granted the Agricultural Credit Facility, an initiative of the Uganda government in partnership with commercial banks in 2011. He added, that in 2012 he was denied access to the funds.
“I applied and was granted funds through the Tropical Africa Bank in October, 2011. When I imported the agricultural machinery, my account was blocked under the guise that it was non-performing and I was not paying the loan back,” O’lalobo said.
He added that the Bank also denied him his request for working capital, which he needed when the machines arrived.
“I was declared non-creditworthy which meant that I could not access loans from other banks. My efforts to reach out to the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Uganda have been futile and that is why I am here today,” O’lalobo added.
O’lalobo demanded that Parliament looks into the matter and reviews why there are difficulties in accessing these funds.
Rt. Hon. Kadaga said that it was absurd that O’lalobo had to undergo such an ordeal; even when Parliament had backed the idea of the funds being availed for agricultural development.
“I have equally attempted to access these funds but in vain. What is the purpose of us budgeting for and releasing this money if people out there interested in improving our agricultural sector cannot access it?” Kadaga mused.
She promised to look into the matter and make consultations before she could get back to O’lalobo.
The Agricultural Credit Facility is intended to provide medium and long term loans to projects engaged in agriculture and agro-processing on more favorable terms than are usually available from the financial institutions. The scheme is administered by the Bank of Uganda (BoU), with a provision for a maximum grace period of three years and the interest rate to the final borrower being a maximum of 10% per annum.