Educate communities on parish model to yield results

What you need to know:

Under the Parish Development Model, each of the 1,0594 parishes received Shs17m and Shs100m in 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 national budgets respectively meant for the roll-out and establishment of social cooperatives at parish level

In the 2021 to 2026 manifesto, the President said, NRM would use the Parish Development Model (PDM) as a strategy to reach homesteads that are still in subsistence economy to enable them join the money economy.

The Parish Development Model follows many of the past revolving funds such as Entandikwa, Prosperity for all, Youth Livelihood Programme, Operation Wealth Creation, NAADS, and the most recent Emyoga, meant to improve the livelihood of Ugandans(Carter, 2013)

Under the Parish Development Model, each of the 1,0594 parishes received Shs17m and Shs100m in 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 national budgets respectively meant for the roll-out and establishment of social cooperatives at parish level.

Speaking at the launch of the Parish Development Model on  February 27 at Kibuku Primary School, Kibuku District in Bukedi Sub-region, President Museveni spoke with certainty about the targets of the fund.

He asserted that the Parish Development Model will increase household incomes and lift the 39 percent subsistence population to the money economy, adding that it’s an extension of government approach to development as envisaged under the National Development Plan III, with the parish as the lowest administrative and operational hub for delivering services closer to the people and hence fostering economic development.

The PDM has seven pillars; (1) production, storage, processing, and marketing; (2) infrastructure and economic services; (3) financial inclusion; (4) social services; (5) mindset change; (6) parish based management information system (7) governance and administration. None of the above pillars can stand firm alone to deliver the intended purpose of the model. 

A considerable amount of sensitisation has been done by both the Secretariat and the politicians. However, several queries continue to unfold as days go by.

The prominent ones being lack of training and trust from parish chiefs, politicians using this fund as a political asset, and of course, chief of them all, corruption and bribery.

The rate at which the implementation is marred by corruption scandals is alarming and the minister of Security was spot on in his directive to all the internal security structures.

“I have directed all DISOs and GISOs across the country to keep their eyes on the ground and report anyone engaged in soliciting money/bribes from the beneficiaries of the Parish Development Model” Gen Muhwezi tweeted.

This directive came at the height of allegations of parish chiefs and other groups involved in the documentation process soliciting for bribes from the poor beneficiaries of the PDM in villages.

The politicisation of the projects undermines its sole purpose of transforming poor people into a money-making economy.

In his swearing-in speech, President promised to be a president of all Ugandans regardless of the political affiliations, therefore, this must be reflected in PDM.

While appearing on a  TV talk show, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja informed the country that for the first time, the government had invested in data collection to ascertain the genuine beneficiaries of these funds.

 This, too, is a contentious matter because many poor homes claim they have never seen or interacted with any of these data entrants in their communities.

Parishes are of different sizes but up to now, the budget per parish is still the same regardless of the variation in size and population of these units.

This means that a sizable number of poor people might be left out of the project, if this is not addressed. 

If Gen Muhwezi’s directive is given the attention it so deserves, and strict and non-discriminatory punitive measures for culprits are well laid, the implementation process might yield its intended outcomes.

But if none of the above issues is accurately addressed at all levels, then, sensitisation without a clear process of implementation will not transform the poor as envisaged by the President.

Arthur Tumwesigye

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