Minister says PDM has put money in many pockets 

Minister of ICT and National Guidance Chris Baryomunsi. Photo/File

What you need to know:

  • Data from the government shows that about 63 percent of the areas have benefited from this intervention and so far over Shs1 trillion has been disbursed.

The government’s latest attempt to put money in the pockets of all Ugandan households is on track, the ICT and National Guidance minister has said.

Dr Chris Baryomunsi yesterday said the Parish Development Model or PDM, whose overall goal is to strengthen the household income of 39 percent of Ugandans outside the economy, is doing exceedingly well.

“Our assessments show that there has been progress under PDM and now we are focusing on ensuring that the other 39 percent of the households also get out of that subsistence livelihood and they be part of the money economy so that everybody earns, everybody gets income and everybody can participate in the development of the economy hence get out of poverty,” he said.

PDM is the latest of a wide range of poverty alleviation initiatives that the Museveni administration has green-lit. It joins interventions such as the Modernisation of Agriculture, Youth Livelihood Fund, the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, and Operation Wealth Creation that critics say have been met with mixed success.

“One of the indicators which we use to measure poverty is we look at the proportion of the people living below the poverty line. When you use the World Bank figures, in the mid-1990s around 1995, data showed that up to 56 percent of Ugandans lived below the poverty line in other words survived on less than a dollar a day and a dollar is about Shs3,700,” Dr Baryomunsi, who is also the government spokesperson, said.

He added: “The most recent estimates from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics indicate that over the years, this figure has dropped from 56 percent to 20.3 percent. In other words, the percentage of Ugandans who are in abject poverty or who live below the poverty line has dropped from 56 percent in the mid-1990s to 20.3 percent and that is a phenomenal decline. So that means these poverty alleviation schemes, which we have been championing, have given us positive results.”

The minister also said the increase in the life expectancy of Ugandans from 43 years in the 1980s to 65 years today is a testament to the impact of the poverty alleviation schemes.

Dr Baryomunsi revealed that challenges such as corruption, which is a hindrance to development, limited funds, and delayed service delivery have been foiled by the PDM’s silver bullet.

“Ugandans used to complain that the money from these schemes is stolen by some individuals and so it doesn’t reach them because it was going through very many hands but now that the money is directly sent to the parishes, the issue of theft of the funds was eliminated that is why Ugandans have immensely benefited from PDM,” Dr Baryomunsi said.

Launched in February of 2023, the PDM is a scheme where the government sends Shs100 million to parishes and communities at village levels. After locals borrow money that is sent to parishes, they invest it in projects that generate income to improve their livelihoods. They then refund the money after three years.

Data from the government shows that about 63 percent of the areas have benefited from this intervention and so far over Shs1 trillion has been disbursed.

Data from the PDM secretariat last year showed that 370,623 people had benefited from the programme.