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Youth in Kwania spend PDM cash on smartphones, hoofers

KWANIA, September 28, 2023 – A section of the youth who benefited from the Parish Development Model [PDM] cash in Kwania district are using the government money to buy hoofers, smartphones, and other household items, leaders have said.

A set of hoofers in Kwania district goes between Shs 300,000 to Shs 500,000 and the smartphone goes between Shs 250,000 to Shs 1 million.

Leaders say buying smartphones and hoofers is contrary to the PDM guidelines, as the money is supposed to be invested in different enterprises such as coffee, bananas, dairy farming, fish farming, piggery, and beekeeping among others in the agricultural value chain.

In the 2022/2023 financial year, the government disbursed Shs 5.2 billion to support the 49 PDM parish SACCOs in Kwania district and a sum of Shs107 million was wired to each parish SACCOs in the district, as part of the government efforts to support the 39 percent of the households still stuck in absolute poverty to move to the money economy.

During his PDM verification tour in Nambieso Sub-county on Tuesday, Geoffrey Alex Ogwal Adyebo, Kwania district LCV chairman said a number of men who got the PDM funds are drinking excessively.

Meanwhile, most of the youth in the district have bought mattresses, hoofers, and smartphones contrary to the PDM guidelines.

“I am a bit disappointed with two categories of people men and the youth. In almost all the groups I have visited I spotted at least one or two members of the PDM SACCO who have received money but are drunk. The majority of the youth who have gotten the money have used it to buy hoofers, smartphones, and mattresses. I am wondering what kind of enterprise the hoofers are and yet they know they are supposed to pay back the money,” he said.

Women making the best use of PDM cash

“The only categories of people that I am happy with are women. Women who have received money are testifying that they have bought goats. They have bought cows and in the near future they are expecting to have the offspring of these animals and really some of them have bought seeds and they have planted.’

He added: “I want to recommend that in the subsequent distribution of money, we should give priority to women.” The PDM guidelines document gives 30 percent of the total funds disbursed to the parishes to women.

On Tuesday Ogwal and the district team visited Aornga, Itekober, Ojokdot, Anwangi, Acwao and Acaba parishes in Nambieso Sub-county.

In Ojokdot parish, it was found out that the SACCO leaders gave the money to relatives and members of the same households contrary to the PDM guidelines. Recently, seven members and leaders of Ojokdot PDM SACCO were summoned and sent to police to record statements following the alleged fraud.

Arikwanga Richard Noon, Kwania Resident District Commissioner said the PDM funds went to the people.

“We found out that there are people who registered in parishes where they are not bonafide residents and we consider them to be ghost beneficiaries. Those who are liable have accepted that they will refund the money to the SACCO account,” he said.

He added: “We also have the commitment forms by those people who could have given out money to the wrong hands to refund it so that it is given to the rightful beneficiaries.”

Kwania District Principal Commercial Officer, Catharine Akello acknowledged there was an element of bias by the PDM SACCO leaders in the selection of the beneficiaries, saying the challenge will be addressed in the subsequent disbursement of PDM funds.

“In the second lot we shall change the tactic of handling PDM money because we found out that the SACCO leaders’ have abused the selection criteria of the beneficiaries. We shall mobilise all members of the parish and vet the rightful beneficiaries and the money will be given out to address the complainants,” she said.

Alex Okello and Mike Opio both residents of Nambieso Sub-county who spoke to this reporter welcomed the ongoing verification exercise, saying the initiative will go a long way to recover money from the ghost PDM beneficiaries.

The PDM was launched in February 2022, in Kibuku district, Bukedi Sub-region by President Museveni. Under the programme, government is committed to giving Shs 100mln as a revolving fund to each of the 10,594 parishes in the country every financial year. Beneficiaries are required to pay back the money in the period of two years, the reason why it should be used for commercial production, rather than consumption.

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