Parliament: The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa has directed the Minister for Local Government to present a statement to Parliament on concerns surrounding the implementation of the Parish Development Model (PDM).
Tayebwa issued the directive following a debate on oversight reports from different regions during the plenary sitting on Tuesday.
“I need you to get all the reports and comb through the observations and recommendations. Give us a response on the cross-cutting issues and highlight those that are unique to particular areas,” said the Deputy Speaker.
The Minister is expected to present the statement by Thursday next week.
Legislators observed limitations in pillar three of the programme which is about financial inclusion.
According to Hon. Laura Kanushu (NRM, PWD Representative), the 10 per cent of funding designated for persons with disability at parish level has not been effected.
“We have learnt that persons with disabilities have been refused from setting up their own SACCOS and are being told to join others. As their representatives, how do we monitor the funds they are supposed to benefit from?” Kanushu said.
She tasked the minister to clarify whether the funding for PWDs under the Parish Development Model will be made available.
Hon. Boniface Okot (NRM, Youth Representative Northern) said that many youth across the country were told that they could not form their own SACCOS and were tasked to join already existing ones.
He added that youth leaders are not included on the leadership of the SACCOS as required by the PDM guidelines.
“The guidelines state that the Parish Youth Council chairperson should be part of the committee. But we have noted that the youth leaders in some areas have been relegated,” Okot said.
He called for translation of PDM guidelines into local languages to ease information dissemination.
Agnes Kirabo (NRM, Youth Representative Central) said funds under the programme ought to be sent to group bank accounts rather than individual bank accounts for effective accountability.
Toroma County MP Joseph Koluo said that intended beneficiaries in SACCOS are unable to benefit from the funds that have been disbursed.
“We have 30 SACCOS in my constituency. Documents indicate that there is money on the selected bank accounts but when the groups try to withdraw the money, they find totally nothing on the accounts,” Koluo said.
MPs also called for funding to facilitate parish chiefs to execute their mandate of monitoring the progress of the programme.
“Parish chiefs in Rukiga were not given funds to carry out sensitisation on the programme. PDM was a rushed programme and people have not yet appreciated it,” said Caroline Kamusiime (NRM, Rukiga District).
Kigulu South County MP, Hon. Milton Muwuma called on the minister to budget for facilitation for parish chiefs to enable them effectively monitor the new government programme.
Aisha Kabanda (NUP, Butambala District) said that newly created parishes have not benefitted from funding under PDM.
“There is a disconnect between the Electoral Commission and Local Government. New parishes that were formed became electoral areas but the Ministries of Finance and Local Government did not consider these parishes while allocating money,” Kabanda added.