Luwero, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | 101 Parishes in Luwero district are stuck with 58 million Shillings each meant for the Parish Development Model.
In February 2022, President Yoweri Museveni launched the program meant to eradicate poverty through the execution of development activities at the parish level.
Since then, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has released 58 out of 100 million Shillings to 101 parish SACCOs in Luwero district.
Racheal Matovu, the Chairperson of Ssambwe Parish in Ndejje town council says that although the money is on the account, the beneficiaries are yet to access it because they are unable to withdraw it due to government restrictions.
Yusuf Muramira, the Chairperson of Bukimu Parish in Zirobwe town council says that residents want to utilize the money for their enterprises which include farming but the government has maintained control of the SACCO bank accounts and blocked access to the little funds.
Martin Yiga Paul, the Luwero Deputy Chief Administrative Officer explained that money is held in the SACCO bank accounts because the district is still training intended beneficiaries on bookkeeping, enterprise selection and leadership skills among other basics.
Yiga says that the parishes will be able to utilize the funds as soon as the training is concluded.
Denis Sekabira, the Katikamu North Member of Parliament says that the slow implementation is a clear indication that the long-awaited programme may fail like other government programmes.
Sekabira also faulted the government for failing to release all the funds which may further create less impact in the communities. He says that recently, the Speaker of Parliament sent them on recess to monitor the programme but wonders what will they tell people if the money is held in accounts.
Brenda Nabukenya, the Luwero District Woman Member of Parliament says although training is important, the government has spent much time before implementation and this has demoralized the intended beneficiaries.
Hassan Kirumira Lukaalidde, the Katikamu South Member of Parliament says that the programme has failed to kick off in time because the government ignored advice from opposition MPs on the implementation of the programme.
Kirumira says that they are waiting for Parliament to resume and task the government to explain the slow implementation of the programme.
In his report for the year 2021/22, the Auditor General John Muwanga noted that 79 billion Shillings revolving fund paid to 8,703 SACCOs in 169 Local governments remained idle on the SACCO bank accounts.
Muwanga said that failure to utilize disbursed funds delays the achievement of the PDM objectives of improving community livelihoods and will also compromise the recovery of the advanced funds.
Muwanga also found out that some parish chiefs recruited in Butaleja district had forged academic papers whereas 591 million shillings meant for administrative costs were unaccounted for in five other districts.