Last Updated on: 24th March 2023, 12:15 pm
The government of NRM led by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is adamant and does not want to be pressured to admit that the Parish Development Model (PDM) could be heading for a fall.
To date, more than shs260 billion has been released and wired to the local beneficiaries many of whom are gosht. However, corruption continues to take shape, something that has been seen as a major setback to the success of PDM.
While addressing the 11th Parliament on March 16, 2023, on matters of national importance, President Museveni said “PDM must work”. To the wider population, the Model is already sabotaged.
For example, on February 8, 2023, UPC said “a report indicates that the public is yet to understand PDM concept derived to uplift the general welfare of people”.
Again, speaking on Wednesday, March 21, UPC party spokesperson Arach Oyat Sharon said it is starting to emerge that the Parish Development Model (PDM) is behind schedule and getting sucked into a wider range of socio-economic challenges coupled with corruption, bribery scandals, and diversion of funds.
This, she said has shown its ugly head hence influencing investigations and arrests as has been the case with Emyooga and Youth Livelihood (YLP) programs that failed to achieve the intended broad objectives.
It should be recalled that when the government came up with the Parish Development Model (PDM) strategy as a means of achieving the socio-economic transformation at the grassroots level, it was very much appealing with hopes that it will yield better fruits than the previous initiatives, added Arach.
The above hopes UPC said gave politicians, government officials, opinion leaders, and the general citizenry something to hold on to and talk about with great enthusiasm since it was considered a magic bullet in line with the core targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Vision 2040 and 2060
“The envisaged income of households in their respective parishes was great news to our people across the country who are wallowing in poverty. The Parliament equally gave momentum to PDM by legislation and appropriating funds to kick start the project followed by the oversight of the same on two official occasions in the respective constituencies of Members of Parliament to assess the progress, whose reports were not appealing at all.”
UPC opted to take a cautious approach towards PDM from the word go and advocated for a pilot scheme project, implementation in a few sizeable selected areas from both urban and rural.
“This was envisaged to have a limited activity that can be closely monitored or supervised purposely to test its effectiveness and assess the risks before full implementation across the country. If such areas are not looked at critically, PDM is bound to follow in the footsteps of the previous stagnating projects that have failed to address both poverty and unemployment questions.”
“….UPC further warned from initial reports that the public is yet to understand PDM as a concept derived to uplift the general welfare of the people especially the seven pillars of PDM.”
The pillars include Agriculture (production, storage, processing, and marketing), Infrastructure and Economic Services, Financial Inclusion, Social Services, Mindset change, Parish Based Management Information System, and Governance and Administration.
“The public rather sees PDM funds as a grant from the government to attend to their daily needs,” the party noted, calling it another critical area that where the government did not pay much attention to!
“UPC urges the government to roll out effective sensitization and education (training and skilling) programs for the targeted beneficiaries about PDM and their specific projects and make it clear to the public that it is a loan that will be repaid at a given time.”
It is just starting to trickle down to the targeted beneficiaries that PDM funds are a soft loan which was previously pegged to 3% and now stands at 6% with a set recovery period that is very much limited and our people have had real challenges with the money lenders who use every trick in the book to dispossess them of their hard-earned property.
“Government should therefore plan while bearing in mind that she is dealing with people from all walks of life with different experiences and mindsets,” speaking for her party, Arach tells the government.
UPC said they have also noted with concern that some PDM beneficiaries who are to engage in businesses like agriculture, bakery, and fisheries among other small-scale enterprises are bound to face stiff competition from already established entrepreneurs at both national and international levels in terms of marketing as there is no policy protecting local entrepreneurs.
“This may delay the process of harvesting money from the investment projects to service the loan within the set period. UPC urges the government to look at this area critically.”
UPC reiterates its stand on PDM taking a shape of a pilot scheme in some selected urban and rural areas to enable close supervision and monitoring.
This pilot scheme, they think can be explained in finer detail as an experimental run to see how feasible PDM can work out as a magic bullet toward poverty alleviation.
“The party would like to draw the attention of the government to the Kibuku district in eastern Uganda where PDM was officially launched by the President of the Republic of Uganda H. E. Yoweri K. Museveni in February 2022. This area needs to be given a special focus as it stands out as a national symbol for the project.”