Ugandan Women's Finance Trust micro-finance graduates to commercial bank status

Sunday 19th January 2014

State House Uganda - NewsState House Uganda - News Ugandan Women's Finance Trust micro-finance graduates to commercial bank status, President invokes Luganda proverb: "Nezikokolima gaali magi" as Minister commends him for elevating Uganda's Women from the Kitchen to the Boardroom

President Yoweri Museveni has called on entrepreneurs to take advantage of the enabling environment created by the NRM government to fully explore the available business opportunities and advance themselves economically.

The President made the call on Friday at the official launching of Finance Trust Bank at Kampala Serena Conference Centre. Finance Trust Bank, which has been a Micro Deposit Institution (MDI) at tier III level has transformed into a fully fledged tier I Commercial Bank.

Mr. Museveni noted that despite the current business friendly environment, only 32% of the populace in Uganda is in the money economy while 68% are engaged in subsistence farming. He added that this raised the dependency levels on the ones in the money economy and part of the reason why poverty is still a challenge in Uganda.

"This part of Africa is very deceptive and not like Europe where if you don't work, you may die. Here, you can sleep, do nothing and not die, unlike in Asia where, because of the big population, the pressure for one to survive is high. The struggle we have is to wake our people, so they can live in a new way based on rationalized activities", he emphasized.

Mr. Museveni explained that for a long time, he has been struggling to sensitize the percentage of the people who are still engaged in subsistence farming on the need to engage in other income generating ventures in addition to food security in order to reduce poverty at household level. He cited peace, the availability of internal and regional markets, infrastructure and electricity as the underlying factors that determine the success of any business most of which Uganda has in place.

He, therefore, challenged the founder members and management of Finance Trust Bank to focus more on attitude change and sensitization of their clientele on how to improve their financial status. For example, he said, by improving the existing sectors of agriculture through shifting from subsistence to commercial farming, establishing processing industries, among others, will go a long way in helping people to shift to more profitable activities as opposed to subsistence practices.

The President congratulated the pioneers of Finance Trust Bank for their effort to empower women for over 20 years. Invoking a Luganda proverb ‘n'ezikokolima gaali magi' (crowing cocks were once eggs), he expressed satisfaction over their commitment towards fighting poverty, especially among the rural women.

The Chairperson of the Board of Directors and Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Eng. Irene Muloni, commended President Museveni for elevating women from the kitchen to boardrooms, institutions and businesses and also for promoting the general status of women.

According to the Governor of Bank of Uganda, Professor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, Finance Trust's transformation will help to widen the Bank's customer base. He, however, cautioned the senior managers and the board to exercise due diligence in ensuring safety of customer funds through strict supervision. He commended the President for assenting to the Anti-Money Laundering Act to curb acts of money laundering and its negative consequences on the national economy.

Ms. Annet Mulindwa Nakawunde, who is the Managing Director of Finance Trust Bank, pledged their commitment to reducing poverty among their customers through ensuring the accessibility and affordability of their products.

During the function, founder members were awarded for their commitment, support and guidance towards the institution since its inception.

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