The sustainability of MFIs in Uganda: the need for consumer protection while balancing stakeholders' interests
Microfinance has taken centre stage in the quest for poverty eradication in Uganda. Microfinance providers traverse the country, many with an objective of making a return on their investment, NGOs notwithstanding. The investment in the sector has grown to enormous proportions. This increased investment, however, has come with increased competition. Amid this increased investment and competition, consumers have taken the backseat to profit-making among many providers. Questionable means of recovery, high interest rates, non-transparent contracts, standard form contracts, cash collateral, fraud against clients, arrest, and committal to civil prison using ex parte judgments have become common phenomena. There is a need to change the legal framework to protect the consumer against the said abuses. Training of loans officers, increased monitoring, insurance, training microfinance clients, and formulating standard acceptable contracts with fair terms to be used by all providers seem to be the only solutions to consumer protection.