Parliament has deferred a decision on the implementation of the Parish Development Model with legislators calling for piloting of the project before full implementation.
Members of Parliament across the political divide called for a careful study of the model and urged the government to create a special fund for it and not merge with already existing poverty alleviation programmes.
This followed a statement by the Finance Minister, Hon Matia Kasaija during a plenary sitting on Wednesday, 28 April 2021.
Kasaija said that the operational funds for both Uganda Women Empowerment Programme and Youth Livelihood Programme will remain with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development over the transition period to the Parish Development Model.
“This will support administration of funds that have already been loaned out under these programmes. The transition period to the Parish Development Model is planned to last a maximum period of two financial years,” he said.
Kasaija added that the funds under this project will be operated under SACCOs at the parish level.
“Each parish is required to have an approved parish-SACCO for on-lending funds from the Parish Revolving Fund to eligible parish households,” he added.
The Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga(behind the Sergeant at Arms) chaired the sitting of the House
Ntenjeru North Member of Parliament, Hon Amos Lugoloobi said that the source of funding for the parish development is questionable adding that, ‘We need to do a thorough study before we implement this programme’.
“Why are we moving shs58 billion from the coffee sector to this model? This will leave the sector in a crisis and the growth we have been experiencing will be hindered. I am not sure this is going to succeed.,” Lugoolobi said.
Hon Robert Centenary (FDC, Kasese Municipality) said government should halt the implementation of the model as government budgets for the new programme.
“How are you going to ensure equity? Give it a scientific look and learn from the failed programmes and come up with a proper format that will run through the whole country, he said adding that, ‘government should budget and finance these new programmes’.
Hon. Mwanga Kivumbi (DP, Butambala County) said it was wrong to move funds from projects in different regions to finance the parish model.
“Most monies in the districts have been taken away to aide this project. They are wiping out the money and taking it to a revolving fund that will not revolve. Let us fund a study, give ourselves time so that we do a thorough job,” Kivumbi said.
MPs interact before the start of the plenary sitting
Ruhinda County, Hon. Donozio Kahonda said there was need for more research into the programme and it has to have inclusiveness.
“For any development project to take place, there has to be inclusiveness and this project does not have that,” he said.
The First Deputy Prime Minister, Gen Moses Ali proposed that the Ministry of Finance studies the MPs’ concerns and addresses the gaps. He said the report will then be presented to the House before a decision on the matter is taken.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga welcomed the Prime Minister’s proposal saying that, ‘let us separate the affirmative action funds from this model’.
“If you look at Busoga, for example, their priority is not the revolving fund, it is machines to manufacture items out of their sugarcane,” Kadaga said.