KWANIA, September 20, 2023 – A section of the youth in Kwania district in Northern Uganda have said they have been denied a chance by the leaders to benefit from the Parish Development Model ([PDM].
The PDM is a government programme that was launched in February 2022 by President Yoweri Museveni as a means of uplifting 39 percent of Ugandan households still encircled in the subsistence economy to the money economy.
According to the PDM guidelines, the youth are supposed to get 30 percent of the Shs 100 million disbursed to the 10,594 parishes in Uganda each financial year for investment in the agricultural value chain.
However, while addressing Kwania district leaders on Saturday during the commemoration of the belated International Youth Day at Nambieso Agro Secondary School in Ayabi town council, James Okol, the Kwania district male youth councilor said many young people in the district have been sidelined from the programme.
“We were allocated 30 percent of the PDM funds but to our surprise, our youth down there are not getting this money. The youth have been neglected from receiving this money and today we are speaking in broad daylight that the youth be included because our 30 percent is there,” he said.
Denis Obyera, Chawente Sub-county youth councilor who doubles as the chairperson production, marketing, and natural resources said many young people were not registered to benefit from the PDM based on the thought that they may not be able to pay back the loans.
“Many young people showed interest in PDM but the PDM SACCO chairpersons refused to register claiming that they will not be able to pay back the loans yet some of the youths are very responsible and able to pay back the loans. Personally, I showed interest in the loan but my application was rejected. I needed the money to boost my poultry and salon businesses,” he said.
Catharine Akello, Kwania district principal commercial officer in a telephone interview with this reporter on Tuesday said, “The district received Shs5.2bln PDM Fund and we have so far disbursed the money to all the 49 parish SACCOs in the district.”
She urged the youth to channel their concerns to the relevant government offices in the district so that they can benefit from PDM’s revolving fund. The programme runs for five years.
The programme’s money is supposed to be invested in production of crops like coffee, maize, beans, bananas, macadamia, on top of dairy farming, fish farming, poultry farming, and piggery among others, although trade in the agricultural produce is allowed.
Beatrice Adupa, the Kwania district community development officer blamed the delays in disbursing the PDM money to the youth on the wrong mindset of the youth. “Even if government comes here today and poor money in this pitch you will still remain poor. In 2014 you were given Shs 700mln under the YLP [Youth Livelihood Programme] but as I talk now the recovery stands at Shs 90mln. Much as you did not refund the money, you have remained even poorer than before. It’s my appeal that you change your mind and make the best use of the PDM money once you are given,” she said.
“The government says we are responsible for mindset change and if we are to fully change the mindset of the people, the government should fully facilitate the department of community-based services. This is still the least facilitated sector in Kwania district,” she added.
Buy your copy of thecooperator magazine from one of our country-wide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news