Fort Portal, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Fort Portal city authorities are stuck with over 250 million Shillings meant for disbursement to Parish Development Model (PDM) groups because of their failure to fulfill some of the requirements.
Michael Karwani, the Fort Portal city commercial officer says that none of the 21 groups from the North and Central Divisions have held the Annual General Meeting, which is a key requirement for them to access the funding.
He explains that each of the 21 SACCOs is entitled to 12,239,928 Shillings, which they can’t receive for now. “North Division has 9 registered SACCOS while Central Division has 12. The SACCOS opened accounts in Housing Finance Bank Fort Portal branch and each of these have already got money deposited on their accounts, but they cannot access it or use it,” Karwani told URN.
According to Karwani, in addition to the failure of the Saccos to conduct AGMs, the implementing team lacks funds to carry out sensitization meetings among the beneficiaries and the general public.
‘’We need transport to go to hard-to-reach areas to educate the people and also sensitize them on what to do with the money because we still have a challenge with the Emyooga funds where people thought it was a free token from the government and with PDM if not well educated, they will think the same,’’ he said.
He explains that for the SACCOs to operate, household data is needed and this is still being collected from the households that registered to benefit from the program. After the data collection, they will carry out sensitization among the beneficiaries and leaders at the parish level who are the direct supervisors of the project.
Karwani told URN that his office needs at least 3 million Shillings to carry out sensitization in each of the 25 wards of the city. The Fort Portal Resident City Commissioner, Angalia Kasigwa says that the money has not yet been made accessible to the beneficiaries because they are waiting for guidelines on how the money will be disbursed.
“Yes, the accounts have been credited with the money but the people cannot withdraw it because we are waiting for guidelines, it cannot be used without guidelines,” Angalia said in a phone interview. He explained that sensitization will be a continuous process even after the seed capital is given out.
URN spoke to different people to get their reactions to the program. Kurusum Mbabazi, one of the residents said that although she registered for the program about six months ago, she has never got an update on when she will receive the money or how much money she will get.
Sulait Tusiime, a boda boda rider said that he has never heard about the PDM program and nobody at his home knows about it.
Francis Magezi, another resident said that with the experience he got from Emyooga, he isn’t interested in this program. He adds that he was informed that the PDM money is only given to the vulnerable poor and he wasn’t a candidate for it.
Jackie Kobusinge, a market vendor said that in her area, tenants were neither registered nor sensitized about the program. She said that only landlords were given a chance to register for the SACCOS, adding that when she tried to ask leaders about the funds, she was given a deaf ear.
The Parish Development Model (PDM) which was launched by President Yoweri Museveni in February 2022, is a strategy for organizing and delivering public and private sector interventions for wealth creation and employment generation at the parish level as the lowest economic planning unit.
Under the program, each parish is expected to receive Shs100 million to benefit various categories of people to eradicate poverty.