By Gladys Nanyombi
Parliament has on Wednesday deferred a decision on the implementation of the Parish Development Model with MPs calling for piloting of the project before full implementation.
Members of Parliament across different political sheds advised the minister for local government and finance to careful study the model and that a special fund be created not to mix with already existing poverty alleviation and livelihood programmes.
On Wednesday the Finance Minister, Hon Matia Kasaija during a plenary sitting 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 the administration of funds that have already been loaned out under these programs. The transition period to the Parish Development Model is planned to last a maximum period of two financial years,” said Kasaija.
Kasaija noted 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.
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 program.
“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 the government should halt the implementation of the model as government budgets for the new program.
“How are you going to ensure equity? Give it a scientific look and learn from the failed programs 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 programs’.
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 aid 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.
Ruhinda County, Hon. Donozio Kahonda said there was need for more research into the program 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 concurred with the proposal by the leader of Government business Moses Ali who said, concerns of affirmative action in this development be considered and separated according to the zoning arrangement ‘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 machined to manufacture items out of their sugarcane,” Kadaga said.