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Kwania: SACCO leaders empowered with financial management skills

PDM SACCO leaders are tasked with managing funds before they are disbursed to members who are the programme's beneficiaries.

KWANIA, June 16, 2024 – In a bid to curb mismanagement of the funds under their control, leaders of the Parish Development Model SACCOs [PDM SACCOs] in Kwania district have been trained in financial management, especially that they are about to receive the second batch of the funds from the central government.

This was achieved days ago during the signing of the financial agreement by the PDM SACCO leaders and the district authorities held recently at the Kwania district council hall. PDM SACCO leaders are tasked with managing funds before they are disbursed to members who are the programme’s beneficiaries.

According to Catherine Akello, Kwania District Commercial Officer who doubles as the PDM Focal Point Person for the district, nine parish SACCO leaders were arrested after mismanaging the first money disbursed to the SACCOs.

Akello called upon the SACCO leaders to seek guidance from her office anytime they encounter challenges in the disbursement of the funds to the beneficiaries of the PDM, who include the youth, women, and people with disabilities [PWDs].

“Last year, I arrested nine SACCO leaders for mismanagement of the PDM funds. This time be open and transparent. If you see that there is a problem with your SACCO, consult my office before you make a blunder, and utilise these money well so that arrests are not made. Write minutes for every meeting that you hold as leaders of a parish SACCCO,” Akello said, adding that minutes provide a clear record of what happened, help hold people accountable, and facilitate the smooth implementation of decisions.

Meanwhile, a number of Kwania district officials have decried the diversion of the first PDM money, with the officials disclosing that the majority of the beneficiaries used the  funds to buy electronics like smartphones, radio sets, and mattresses among others, while other beneficiaries used the money to marry more wives or drink alcohol.

Under the programme, each beneficiaries receives Shs 1 million from government to engage in income generating activities such as coffee growing, poultry keeping, fish farming, beekeeping, piggery, and banana growing among others. Government every financial year sends Shs 100mln to parish SACCOs’ revolving fund, which in turn disburses it to the beneficiaries.

On his part, Richard Arikwanga Noon, Kwania Resident District Commissioner applauded government for its development initiatives like the PDM, saying it will help boost the livelihoods of people.

Arikwanga however blamed the PDM SACCO leaders for not executing their roles in managing the funds, a reason he said the money was diverted to buy other items such as mattresses instead of being invested in productive activities as stipulated in the PDM guidelines.

“You PDM SACCO leaders sometimes you let us down and yet the government is always on our neck about the issue of PDM. There is no government which gives a lot of money like this to its citizens to develop themselves. Use the money for the right purpose, and follow right procedures in disbursing it to the beneficiaries. This kind of reckless behavior when you get the money, and you start spending it in trading centres illegally will not be tolerated,” warned Arikwanga.

Meanwhile Geoffrey Alex Ogwal Adyebo, Kwania District LCV Chairperson warned the PDM SACCO to ensure that beneficiaries invest the money in the enterprises chosen instead of diverting it to unproductive activities.

“When you people were registering enterprise groups, I didn’t see any enterprise group called “Mattress Enterprise Group” Why are you then using PDM money to buy mattresses?”. I don’t know if there are provisions in the PDM guidelines that allow beneficiaries to change the names of their enterprise groups. Please do not divert from your registered enterprises for which the money was given to you. We are about to start recording success stories of the PDM,” said.

Ogwal asked the SACCO leaders to make the groups active throughout the year for easy support. “These groups are cooperatives, therefore, keep them active by saving money,” he said.

Meanwhile the SACCO leaders commended Kwania district for the training in financial management, saying it will improve their performance.

Isaac Job Owiny, a member of Ojokdot PDM SACCO attributed the mismanagement of the PDM funds during the first phase to lack of financial management skills on the side of the leaders.

“First of all, the training in the first phase of the disbursement of the money was insufficient and that is why there are challenges of mismanagement,” said Owiny.

Owiny is optimistic that this time round, the money will be put to proper use since the SACCO leaders have been empowered in financial management. “There will be some change in this second disbursement because I have seen the SACCO chairpersons and other leaders trained,” he said.

Kizito Ocen who is the Chairperson of Banya PDM SACCO lauded the district leadership for the training, saying it should also be offered to the SACCO members so that they put the money to proper use, as applied for.

“It is a very good training, we appreciate our commercial officer, my group members did not spend the money recklessly, we bought maize crops, pigs, goats, chicken, I request that they should continue training us after every two months, this training should reach down to the members also,” he said.

Kwania District has 49 Parish Development Model SACCOs among which include; Itekiber PDM SACCO in Nambieso Sub County, Banya PDM SACCO, Teduku PDM SACCO, Aornga PDM SACCO, Agwiciri PDM SACCO, Ongoceng PDM SACCO, Alira PDM SACCO, Ajar PDM SACCO, and others.

The PDM, launched in February 2022, underlies the spirit of harmonisation of government interventions with every MDAs focusing on; delivering services closer to the people; and measurable results at the parish level in order to ensure transformation of the subsistence households into the money economy. This transformation requires organised, integrated, well-coordinated and results-based efforts.

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