NATIONAL — Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has hailed the late Agriculture minister Wilberforce Kisamba Mugerwa for founding the Uganda Microfinance Support Centre (UMFSC) that has been instrumental in promoting entrepreneurship in the country.
Kasaija who was speaking at the Dr Kisamba Mugerwa memorial lecture that was held at Hotel Africana as part of the series of events marking the 20 years of MSC and honoring Dr Mugerwa described the late as a man of passion and intellect.
Dr Mugerwa was the board chair of MSC from 2018 until his untimely death in January 2021.
“I knew Dr Kisamba during our old politics in the 1980s. He was a man of passion and intellect. He did whatever he could to stabilize the MFSC, got new managers and that is what you are seeing today,” Kasaija said.
He added that Dr Kisamba was instrumental in influencing policy and championing reforms in the agriculture and finance sectors of the economy and ably steered the MFSC from 2018 until his death in January 2021.
Minister Kasaija said that for the last 20 years, MSC has championed the implementation of government microfinance support programs.
At the same function, the minister also launched a savings challenge at the centre and encouraged people to develop a saving culture for the country’s economy to grow stronger and stronger.
“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 have extreme poverty while others are extremely rich. We want to see this country grow stronger and stronger,” he said.
Speaking at the event, Dr Emmanuel Aliba, the board chair of UMFSC shared the organisation’s commitment to the government of Uganda to promote financial inclusion and the culture of saving saying they have tested these and they actually work.
“If Ugandans through emyooga have managed to save over Shs60bn then it is possible. Our focus is the rural person. Saving as a culture in this country has to continue.”
Talking on behalf of the family, Dr Kisamba Mugerwa’s widow hailed the government for remembering the contributions of his husband.
She shared her thrill for being part of the MSC celebrations on financial inclusion, something her late husband 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 MFSC for providing a platform to remember him. May his soul rest in peace.”
The Microfinance Support Centre is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a yearlong series of activities under the theme dubbed 20 Years of Financial Inclusion. Since its incorporation in 2001, MSC has played a crucial role in facilitating access to affordable financial services and building management capacities of client institutions.
Today, the body boasts of the milestones they have achieved over the years and the continued government trust to manage the country’s microfinance programs on its behalf.
MFSC was established in 2001 and manages micro credit programmes in Uganda funded by the African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and the government of Uganda.