Cooperatives & Communities

Kalaki leaders ask govt to relax guidelines for accessing PDM cash

KALAKI – The leadership of Kalaki district in eastern Uganda has appealed to the government to soften the guidelines governing access to the Parish Development Model [PDM] funds by the beneficiaries.

In June last year, government disbursed Shs 800 million to Kalaki district meant for disbursement to 34 PDM SACCOs approved by the district for funding.

According to sources, each of the beneficiary PDM SACCOs got Shs 25mln. However, the funds have been lying idle in the SACCOs’ bank accounts for close to nine months due to the failure of the beneficiary groups to meet some of the requirements set for accessing the money.

The Kalaki district commercial officer Beatrice Ayeto, who is the PDM district focal point person, said that none of the SACCOs have held the Annual General Meetings [AGM], which is one of the key prerequisites for them to access the funds from the bank.

“In addition to failure by the SACCOs to hold the Annual General Meetings, the PDM implementing teams, both at the district and sub-county level lack resources to carry out sensitisation meetings for the beneficiaries and as well as the general public,” Ayeto stated.

She pointed out that though they have already trained all the SACCO leaders, they are yet to train households on enterprise groups and business planning before they start accessing the funds.

Ayeto is now asking government to allow the targeted beneficiaries to access the funds which have been lying idle on their SACCOs for close to a year now.

“Government should allow SACCOs to access the funds and carry out the monitoring of how it has been utilised by the beneficiaries,” she urged.

According to Ayeto, the locals are blaming them for the failure to access the money, even though she said the issue is beyond the mandate of her office.

Meanwhile, the chairperson Kadia parish SACCO, Stephen Enasu expressed his dismay with the government programme, noting that the bureaucracies in accessing the funds are complicated.

Enasu explained that though people welcomed the PDM, as a game changer in the fight against household poverty, the bureaucracies it has come with have made some people to lose hope in it.

“Since June last 2022, the PDM money worth Shs 25mln is lying idle in our bank account and now some of my members of the SACCO think the money is not in the account.

Francis Akol, a resident of Agwolo Sub-county said that though he registered for the PDM over seven months ago, he has never got any update on when they are receiving money and how much each member is going to get.

Meanwhile, Samuel Okello, the Kalaki district LCV chairperson, told this reporter that despite the money lying idle on SACCO accounts, none of the 34 SACCOs in the district has received Shs 100mln as promised by the government this financial year.

He added that a majority of the public is not aware of the PDM since government has not allotted resources for public awareness campaigns.

Okello is worried that unless government wake ups and reviews the current guidelines governing utilisation of the PDM funds, the programme will fail like other programmes.

Meanwhile, Jeniffer Ayoo, the Kalaki district woman Member of Parliament questioned the criteria used for enterprise selection under the PDM.

She explained that some of the enterprises that could have people make more come out of poverty were left out.

However, the national PDM coordinator, Denis Galabuzi when contacted by this reporter for a comment wondered why PDM SACCOs in Kalaki district are failing to hold the AGMs, which is a key requirement for them to access the money.

He challenged them to borrow a leaf from their counterparts from other districts in order to access the funds.

Government wants to use the PDM to pull 3.5 million households still in the subsistence economy into the money economy.

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