Luwero, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Leaders in Luwero district have demanded that the criteria used to allocate funds in the Parish Development Model programme be revised.
Effective next month, the government will roll out the Parish Development model across the 10,694 parishes in Uganda. According to the national budget, each parish will receive 30 million shillings for the revolving fund.
Residents of a parish will be required to form Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Saccos) to receive the funds. The parish-SACCOs under the model will lend funds from the Parish Revolving Fund to individual households or household collectives at a concessional interest rate.
The parish chiefs will be in charge of the initiative and these will start by operationalizing the Parish Development Committees before implementation off of the programme in October this year.
However, LCIII and LCV Chairpersons in Luwero have contested the criteria of allocating uniform funds to parishes irrespective of villages and the households there.
Pascal Imarach the LCIII Chairperson of Zirobwe town council says that some parishes have many villages and households compared to others and it is unfair to be allocated the same amount of money.
Imarach says that households in such bigger parishes may not access equally the revolving fund and needs consideration.
Sperito Kiroli the LCIII Chairperson of Zirobwe sub-county says that the government needs to do further consultation before rushing the programme saying it may not create an impact over the gaps so far identified which include criteria and administration of the programme.
Erastus Kibirango the LCV Chairperson of Luwero district says that such unfair allocation of resources has in past contributed to demand for the creation of smaller administrative units with the hope that services will come closer to people.
Kibirango says that in Bamunanika sub-county, one parish has 15 villages but will receive the same amount as others with less than four villages.
Kibirango adds that in the same district, their parishes with few households but they have a big geographical area dominated by majorly farms.
Kibirango says that the Ministry of Finance should have allocated funds basing on villages and households within the parish if the programme is to create impact.
Kisekwa Ssonko the former district councillor for Makulubita sub-county says that two years ago while the government was piloting the same programme, about 7 parishes were selected and each received 30 million shillings in his sub-county but only one has managed to ensure that money revolves around the residents.
Kisekwa says that in other parishes borrowers took the money and never returned it hence depriving other people.
Kisekwa wonders how the government will ensure the programme benefits all people.
Rose Birungi the Luwero Resident District Commissioner says that she has picked the concerns and it will be forwarded to the line ministry for possible revisions or clarification so that the programme creates the intended impact.
During the 2010/2011 financial year, the office of the Prime Minister through the Ministry of Luwero Triangle released funds to be issued to residents as soft loans. But the office of the Prime Minister suspended the program after many of the beneficiaries defaulted. The locals reportedly declined to return the money, calling it a reward from the president.
In 2008, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries distributed hundreds of head of cattle to farmers in Luwero under the livestock restocking exercise. The beneficiaries were expected to pass over calves to other farmers for the continuity of the program. However, the first beneficiaries of the program sold the calves, ending the cycle without any impact.