BY ZALIMON BASIGHALHA ( GOOD LUCK)
Kasese District Local Government has so far received over shillings 21 billion for the Parish Development Model Programme in the current 2023/2024 Financial Year.
The Parish Development Model is a government strategy meant for organizing and delivering public and private sector interventions for wealth creation and employment generation at the parish level as the lowest economic planning unit. The programme started being implemented in Uganda in the last two Financial Years 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 at the establishment phase with community mobilization and sensitization among other activities.
According to the implementation roadmap, the Financial Years 2023/2024 and 2024/2025 will include stabilization and acceleration (now money is in the parish) as well as ensuring full activation of production, storage, value addition, processing and marketing.
While giving a progressive report on the Parish Development Model Programme in Kasese district for the current financial year, the District Production Officer, Mr. Julius Baluku revealed that the Local Government has so far received shillings 21,473,000,000.
He made the revelation yesterday during the District Budget Conference for the 2024/2025 Financial Year that was held at the district multipurpose hall in Kasese town.
He noted that at least all the 197 registered SACCOs across the district have received funds from the Ministry of Finance with reach receiving shillings 109 million.
The Production Officer also clarified that the beneficiaries of the Parish Development Model are expected to be in active farming (crop farming), stocking animals and other inputs (livestock) and those in Agribusiness.
He stressed that his department would put much emphasis on developing and implementing a strategy for ensuring 100% recovery rate from the beneficiaries and timely Parish Revolving Fund disbursement across the district using the Parish Development Model Information System.
He, however, reported that the program is faced by some challenges including lack of enough gadgets in most parishes and sub-counties that should be utilized in the system hence affecting the speed of the loan disbursement process.
He also reported that most SACCOs have no offices and thus filing of documents becomes a challenge and in return, leads to delays in accessing copies of documents that are necessary to be in the file.
Baluku did not hide the issue of poor mindset which he said has led to cases of diversion of the loans to non-productive or agribusiness related activities by the loan beneficiaries, and some elements of extortion that have been reported in some parishes, involving some SACCO leaders.
Despite the challenges faced by programme in the district, Mr. Baluku told the conference that Kasese was selected to host a Parish Development Model hub which will be a Center of Excellence in the Rwenzori Region, adding that a number of activities have so far been identified for the concept and will be implemented with immediate effect.
He explained that the selection was done during the Regional conference of all focal persons on the Parish Development Model Programme in all districts of western Uganda which was recently held in Mbarara City.