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Parliament starts scrutinizing PDM regional reports

Kisaka briefing officials on plans for implementation of PDM for Kampala. PHOTO KCCA MEDIA

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament has started scrutinizing sub-regional oversight reports on the implementation of the Parish Development Model (PDM), weeks after President Yoweri Museveni’s address to the House.

The PDM programme targets 39 per cent of households which are still in subsistence farming, with the objective of enabling them to increase agricultural productivity and value addition through access to a revolving fund at affordable rates.

Last month, the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among sent Members of Parliament on a two-week recess to carry out oversight of the PDM programme implementation activities in their respective constituencies and submit to Parliament a sub-regional report of their findings.

On Wednesday, Parliament received the oversight report from the Lango sub-region presented by Kole North MP, Samuel Opio Acuti on behalf of MPs from the region.

The report highlighted discrepancies in the funds disbursed to various Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs) in the previous financial year 2021/2022.

Opio said that only 29 per cent of the 175 parish SACCOS  in the Lango sub-region received the full amount of 17 million Shillings in the financial year 2021/2022 while 25 per cent of 145 SACCOs did not receive any money. He said that these arrears have not been paid to date.

Lango sub-region registered 597 parish SACCOs of which 277 SACCOs received less than the expected amount.

By the end of the current financial year 2022/2023, the Ministry of Finance is expected to disburse 100 million Shillings to each registered SACCO with 25 million Shillings expected to be released in every quarter of the financial year.

However, 582 SACCOs in the Lango sub-region have so far received 25 million, while 15 did not receive any money.

This has been attributed to errors in their account names and numbers while some were not recognized by the Ministry of Finance as parishes.

Opio said that the failure of the Ministry to release all the funds in line with the Cabinet’s decision has created mistrust in the population about the intended purpose of the programme. He also noted that none of the parish SACCOs has disbursed funds to the beneficiaries.

According to the MP, the delay in allowing SACCOs to disburse the funds coupled with the changing dates for rollout has resulted in the loss of confidence in the programme.

MPs from the Lango sub-region recommended that the Ministry of Finance pays arrears and outstanding payments from the two financial years to the respective SACCOs before the end of June 2023.

Parliament is on Thursday scheduled to receive other sub-regional reports and subsequently debate them.

In his address to parliament on 16th March, President Yoweri Museveni said that he will show no mercy to corrupt officials over the Parish Development Model saying that the programme is in sync with the ruling National Resistance Movement party’s key tenets on social-economic transformation.

The President disclosed several discoveries he made on the PDM during a tour that took him to the Acholi sub-region and that by the end of his field visits across the country, he will have obtained the requisite information needed to set the lending arrangement on the sail.

He warned against misappropriation of the 100 million Shillings per parish funds, saying he will handle culprits viciously.

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