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SME leaders demand accountability for COVID funds

Business

SME leaders demand accountability for COVID funds

Small and Medium Enterprises bosses

The leadership of the Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises Uganda (SMEs) an umbrella body for small business in Uganda has threatened to sue government should it fail to account for the funds that had been earmarked for supporting small business during the first COVID outbreak in Uganda.

Addressing Journalists at their offices in Ntinda on Tuesday, John Walugembe the Chairperson of the SMEs body said that the government has to reveal proper accountability of all the money they have spent in the wake of Covid-19 stating that many things have not been looked into yet money has been released from the government treasury.

“We want them to come up and tell us where the money went because people are suffering yet they claim to have spent our money in things they don’t clearly tell us,” he said.

To realize this, the federation has patterned with Open Forum Initiative a civil society initiative.

The Auditor General in his June report to Parliament, indicated fraudulent spending of Covid-19 partial funds.

The report covered UGX311Bn out of the UGX 4.6 trillion that had been spent between March 2020 and March 2021.

The business advocates used their platform to also ask the government to come up with strategies of opening up the economy.

“Covid 19 is not yet to end but we should rather to learn living with it, commodities are in shops expiring hence Ugandans making losses yet the businessmen and women are continuing paying off their loans and the landlords will also request for rent even for the months when the shops were closed,” Walugembe said.

He further stated that the government channels money through the Uganda Development Bank and Microfinance Support center to help Ugandans in the business sector. He noted that due to the little civic education, many Ugandans are not aware of such funds.

“We have patterned with Open Forum Initiative, with the aim of putting government on task to fasten the process and we are now looking at putting our grievances to the Commissioner General,” he said

He said that a tax relief is one form of Stimulus because the business keeps the money instead of giving it to government.

“We shall do whatever it takes even if it requires going to Court we shall do so,” he added.

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