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Savers protest delayed release of parish community funds

Angry residents attempt to vandalize vehicle that ferried officials from the prime minister’s office. URN photo

Jinja, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Intended beneficiaries of the pilot Parish Community Association-PCA development project in Jinja district have expressed dissatisfaction over delayed release of funds for the project.

PCA is a revolving fund of 30 million Shillings managed under the Office of the Prime Minister-OPM, which is rolled out to boost small scale enterprises in selected parishes in the different districts all over the country.

While interfacing with technical officers from the OPM at Mawoito primary school on Monday, the over 500 beneficiaries from 10 village savings groups under their umbrella body of Kayila parish community association-KPCA, located in Buwenge sub county, Jinja district said that despite fulfilling all the guidelines required of them by the project supervisors, the funds have not been remitted to their accounts. This has slowed down the progress of their business enterprises.

They stress that they were tasked to register for the PCA funds in March 2021, with promises of remitting the money to their accounts in a period of one month. However, the responsible officers have failed to explain the delays in the release of the funds.

They further accuse the project coordinator, Diana Kiwanuka, who doubles as the Jinja district deputy community development officer, of failure to expeditiously enlighten them on when the funds shall be accessed by the intended beneficiaries.

Harriet Bazanya, a member of Kamu Kamu development group says that most of them are illiterate, yet all the money request forms are written in English, and they lack timely guidance from the project supervisors.

She adds that since there were hopes of receiving the funds on time, they hired local government employees to fill these forms for them at a fee of 50,000 Shillings per form.

Agnes Baidukila, a member of Twegaitte savings and credit group says that they have been traveling to the sub county headquarters for the past six months with hopes of receiving the funds but in vain.

Baidukila says that local leaders were alerted about their challenges but nothing seems to materialize in their favor.

Annet Nakisuyi, a member of Bisilikilwa women group says that each of the members has been paying a monthly saving of 10,000 Shillings each, however, none of their chairpersons has access to these savings accounts, which has since created suspicion among beneficiaries.

Nakisuyi further complains that OPM officials are not transparent enough about the procedures of releasing funds to the beneficiaries.

Kiwanuka says that the delays are largely due to the mistakes in filling money request forms, but declined to divulge into details.

Meanwhile, Robert Nabende, an official from the OPM’s monitoring unit says that most of the beneficiary groups have not fulfilled the requirements for them to access the funds. However, sensitization drives are ongoing with the aim of ensuring that the right procedures are adhered too.

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