By Ocaido Patrick, Information and Public Education Officer
The Ministry of Information Communication Technology and National Guidance is seeking Shs70.6 billion to implement the Parish Development Model (PDM).
Cabinet approved the implementation of PDM as the delivery strategy for transitioning households out of the subsistence economy, with effect from 1st July, 2021. The ICT Ministry was charged with the responsibility of spearheading Pillar 5 (Community Data) of PDM which involves setting up the Parish Development Management Information System (PDMIS) to among others validate information on the beneficiaries, evaluate the livelihood and standards of living of people and tracking the progress and performance of the different pillars so as to report real time implication of the programme.
While presenting the ICT sectoral Budget Framework Paper for FY 2022/23 before the ICT Committee, the Minister of ICT Chris Baryomunsi justified the need for Shs70.6 billion saying it would go a long way to build a strong monitoring and evaluation system to measure the success of the programme.
“As we start the Parish Development Model, we have to collect data and information. We need to buy devices, particularly computers, to give parish chiefs and train them and other government leaders on how to collect information and feed it to the central database for monitoring,” Baryomunsi said.
He said that several government projects have failed because of a weak monitoring and evaluation system which makes it difficult to measure the impact of the intervention and ascertain its success.
“We are developing a digital dashboard which is going to be at the central level where at the glance, you can check on the many parishes on what has been done and where there are challenges. So if these parish leaders can feed in this information then we can monitor at the central level,” he said, adding that part of the money will be used to communicate and educate Ugandans on mindset change.
“We need citizens to have a patriotic sense of responsibility, but also most importantly, to have that mindset that makes them aware that they must work hard,” he said.
Hon Muhammed Nsereko (INDEP, Kampala Central Division) remained skeptical about the success of the PDM if the funding gap is not addressed. The Shs70.6 billion for PDM remains among the unfunded priorities in FY 2022/23.
“How is the Ministry going to conduct data analytics when there is such a funding gap on data collection and even procurement of laptops? Won’t this be a lip service? The success of this programme must be backed by data,” Nsereko said.
Hon Barnabas Tinkasiimire (NRM, Buyaga West County) urged the Ministry of ICT to race against time and move faster in setting up information systems to capture data and information considering that the programme is scheduled to be fully operational by March this year.
The digital transformation program for Ministry of ICT and other sector agencies have a financing gap of Shs231.3 billion with Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) requiring Shs51.1 billion to upgrade the signet, while Vision Group requires Shs2.9 billion to revamp defunct vernacular papers as per the presidential directive and ICT Ministry seeks an additional Shs12.1 billion for communication and mindset change, etc.
The State Minister for National Guidance, Godfrey Kabbyanga Baluku beseeched the ICT Committee chaired by Eng. Moses Magogo to consider the sector’s budget shortfalls and avail funds for the same if the Ministry is to fully implement its digital transformation program.