Cooperatives & CommunitiesEastern

Ngora: 58 PDM SACCOs stuck with cash in bank accounts

NGORA – A total of 58 Parish Development Model Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies [PDM SACCOs] in Ngora district are yet to distribute the funds to the beneficiaries despite the district launching their disbursement recently.

According to district officials, only 15 out of the 73 PDM SACCOs in the district have met the criteria for disbursing the funds to the beneficiaries. The officials say government sent Shs 8.4 billion to the district under the programme.

The Ngora district commercial officer Anis Ogeuna, who doubles as the PDM district focal point person, said the PDM SACCOs that are stuck with funds in their accounts don’t meet the guidelines governing the implementation of PDM.

Among the guidelines include: The SACCO must be in a gazetted parish, the SACCO must be registered with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, it must have substantive leaders, and must have an active account with any of the licenced banks in Uganda.

Anna Aguti, the chairperson of Olilim PDM SACCO in Mukura town council said members are frustrated by the slow progress of the disbursement of PDM funds.

She said members expected to get the money as early as possible so that they begin implementing their respective enterprises.

Stephen Odeke Okello, a resident of Odwarata Sub-county, said they have Shs 107 million in their bank accounts, but they are not able to access it.

“Ten members have already been selected to benefit from this fund in the first phase. However, members are so disappointed with the delay in the disbursement of the funds. I have failed to understand the criteria being used to access this money,” he noted.

Meanwhile, John Michael Okello, the Ngora district National Resistance Movement [NRM] chairperson asked leaders to sensitise citizens in their communities about set guidelines governing the PDM.

He pointed out that though the district has started disbursing funds to the beneficiaries, they do not understand the set guidelines, the reason, he said, leaders should intensify sensitisation campaigns so that the beneficiaries understand what is required of them.

However, Francis Opolot, the Ngora district chief administrative officer has assured the beneficiaries of the district’s commitment to ensure that they receive their money as soon as possible.

Opolot noted that the teams charged with handling the PDM funds had to be trained first and all the enterprises had to be established which he said required some time, hence the delay in the disbursement of the funds.

We now have trained personnel now in place to help with the documentation of beneficiaries,” he said.

According to Opolot, the documentation process, the SACCOs, enterprise groups, and their leaders are then entered into the Parish Development Management Information System [PDMIS].

“As a district, we have 647 enterprise groups comprising 10,418 registered would-be beneficiaries,” he said.

He explained that out of 647 enterprise groups, 388 have been entered into PDMIS while 2,460 out of 1,418 would-be beneficiaries have also been entered into the system.

“We so far have received 280 loan applications out which 68 have been approved for funding with 48 coming from Mukura town council,” Opolot said.

The district, according to Opolot, is targeting to have 3,000 approved loan application by the end of July 2023.

“We are now confident that the SACCOs have been rightfully established and that the funds will be released directly to them without having to go through the district bank account,” he said.

However, Ngora resident district commissioner, John Stephen Ekoom cautioned officials implementing the PDM against asking for bribes from the beneficiaries.

He said that leaders should exhibit discipline to make the new programme a success.

He added: “If you don’t have discipline the PDM is going to be frustrated. We are targeting 39 percent of people who are badly off, but you will find all the SACCOs are formed by the people who are well off. If you make a mistake and the rich hijack this programme, I can assure you, we shall witness its immediate death.”

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