Former Agriculture Minister Wilberforce Kisamba Mugerwa has been hailed for founding the Uganda Microfinance Support Centre (MSC) that has been instrumental in promoting entrepreneurship in the country.
The government-owned agency was established in 2001 and manages micro-credit programmes in Uganda funded by the African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and the Ugandan government.
Speaking on Tuesday, 29 March 2022 at Hotel Africana during a memorial lecture dedicated to honour Dr Kisamba-Mugerwa, Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija said the late was a man of passion and an intellectual.
“I knew Dr Kisamba-Mugerwa during our old politics in the 1980s. He was a man of passion and an intellectual. He did whatever he could to stabilize the Microfinance Support Center, got new managers, and that’s what you are seeing today,” he said.
The Memorial lecture was organized as part of the ongoing celebration by MSC to mark 20years of existence.
“Dr Kisamba-Mugerwa was instrumental in influencing policy and championing reforms in the agriculture and finance sectors of the economy and ably steered the Microfinance Support Centre from 2018 until his death in January 2021,” he added.
For the last 20 years, Mr Kasaija said, the Microfinance Support Centre has championed the implementation of government microfinance support programmes.
Under the Emyooga programme, by 30th June 2021, the Microfinance Support Centre had mobilised up to 205,710 parish-based Associations under 6,748 Emyooga SACCOs. The total amount disbursed stood at Shs. 205.34BN benefiting 4,114,200 direct beneficiaries.
Cumulatively, Government, through The Microfinance Support Centre, has invested 600 Billion over the 20 years, creating employment opportunities and increasing household incomes for millions of Ugandans.
Dr. Emmanuel Aliba, the board chairman of MSC said; “We would like to commit ourselves to the Government of Uganda that we will continue to spearhead and promote financial inclusion and the culture of saving among Ugandans. We have tested it, and we know it’s possible.”
“If Ugandans through the Emyooga have managed to save over UGX 60 billion, then it’s possible. Our focus is the rural person, saving as a culture in this country has to continue,” he added.
Minister Kasaija also launched a savings challenge at the center.
“Do you know that people call me “mukono gamu”? Yes, I am “mukono gamu,” and I have no reason to regret it. I don’t play with money. If you gave me UGX 1,000,000 today, I’d save UGX 200,000,” he said.
“When you have saved money, you are very attractive to anybody to lend you money. I am not saying we can all be equal, but we must not have extreme poverty while others are extremely rich. We want to see this country grow stronger and stronger,” he added.
Dr. Kisamba-Mugerwa’s widow hailed the government for remembering the contributions of his husband.
“We are pleased to be part of the MSC celebrations on financial inclusion, something my late husband, Dr. Kisamba-Mugerwa was passionate about. By the time he passed on, he was writing a book on financial inclusion in the ghetto communities.
I thank the board and staff of the Microfinance Support Center for providing a platform to remember my husband, the late Dr. Kisamba-Mugerwa. May his soul continue to rest in peace,” she said.