Members of Parliament who subscribe to the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party have resolved to fully rally behind government on the parish development model, a new program aimed at improving household incomes at the parish level.
This was after President Museveni explained to the legislators who were attending their party caucus at Kololo independence grounds how the parish model works.
The President told the MPs that as part of the program, government will avail shs100 million to every parish purposely to benefit those involved in agriculture who account for more than 60% of Uganda’s population.
According to data from the Electoral Commission, Uganda has over 10,000 parishes and this implies that government will inject over one trillion shillings every financial year for the parish model program.
At the end of five years, every parish will have received shs500 million to finance several agricultural projects.Data from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics according to the 2014 census indicates that a parish has about 800 people.
Speaking during the NRM caucus meeting, President Museveni who also doubles as the Party National Chairman said he is convinced the funds allocated for the program will create a big impact to the population.
The President also defended government’s decision to introduce the new poverty alleviation program that he said will leave no one behind.
“The advantage with this initiative is that recipients know each other and therefore, they will mobilise themselves and form SACCOs. Decision making is up to themselves and not government leaders like it has been previously,” the president told MPs.
He explained that parishes are relatively near to the population and incase of any funding, it is received directly and people can freely decide on which inputs or ventures to undertake without middlemen.
Museveni cited previous challenges that for so long have hampered government programs including corruption, embezzlement, poor quality inputs and long distances that people have to travel to search for information about exiting government programs.
The President said unlike earlier programs, the parish model initiative shall be a revolving fund where people will be expected pay back the principal funds borrowed from the SACCOs in order to ensure saving and reinvestment all the time.
“There are previous interventions like “omushwino” a local word which may be interpreted as a long hole that never gets full. Government has injected a lot money in these projects in vain but instead, money has always disappeared without any visible effect on our population,” he said.
The president told MPs that most of the previous interventions like youth livelihood program and women entrepreneurial funds among other programs will be integrated into the parish development model in order to mobilise enough funds to ensure success of the new program.
“Government has resolved to scrap off previous interventions since these scattered the already little resources allocated and little or no positive impact could be traced,” Museveni said.
He however cautioned MPs and other government leader against mixing up funds meant for “emyooga program” with the parish development model.
The president explained that whereas Emyooga focuses on the popular eighteen (18) ventures like carpentry, hairdressing, metal fabrication among others, the parish model focuses on the population that is involved in agriculture.
He also urged the legislators to mobilise the population to appreciate and join government efforts aimed at improving food security and expanding the money economy through selling their surplus production.
At the same function, the government whip, Hon.Thomas Tayebwa who is also chairperson NRM caucus directed the Chairperson of the Parliamentary budget committee to ensure any proposal by the Ministry of Finance to reduce funds for the new program from the original one trillion shillings per year is rejected.
Commenting about the progress of the program, the Minister for Local Government, Hon Raphael Magyezi said that recruitment of over 5000 parish chiefs who will be focal persons is underway.
He also noted that a seven member secretariat on every parish including an NRM chairperson shall also be put in place to supervise the program.