By Patience Nambozo
It is barely three months since President Yoweri Museveni launched his brainchild, the Parish Development Model (PDM), what seems to be his last gasp strategy for service delivery and for improving income and welfare of Ugandans at the household level. Museveni envisions every Ugandan household being able to generate annual household income of about 20 million shillings or more.
However, a cloud of confusion about what exactly the PDM is intended for and how it will be effectively implemented still lingers around the minds of the vast majority of the targeted beneficiaries, i.e.; the youth, the women, persons with special needs, and others in Uganda. The confusion comes after concerted efforts by several state and non-state actors top elaborate the PDM to the wanainchi.
The attempts are witnessed by the multiple radio talk shows, TV programs, media briefings and opinion writings that have been undertaken by various individuals before and after the official launch of the Parish Development Model.
Firstly, there is a belief that the PDM is a cash bonanza by the NRM party to its supporters at grass root level. This is not true because the PDM is not politically driven and cannot be achieved if viewed that way.
Secondly, the PDM is also seen as one of those many government interventions like NUSAF, NURP, YLP, UWEP, Entandikwa, OWC, etc., all aimed at poverty eradication but did not live to bear lasting fruits and that will collapse very soon. This also is a very wrong way of looking at the PDM. However, it is worth noting that those previous government interventions have been based at the district, constituency, or at the sub-country levels and this created loop holes that were easily exploited by corrupt minded individuals.
Their scope also made their implementation difficult due to the high costs associated with supervision, monitoring and evaluation, hence causing their failure. These among other reasons must have influenced the architecture of the PDM.
The PDM is a model that positions their parish as the epicenter and reference unit for planning, implementation, supervision, and accountability to drive socio-economic transformation. There are over 10,594 parishes in the country and each is expected to have a cooperative society through which government support will be channeled to the targeted beneficiaries of the PDM.
The golden intention of the Parish development Model as envisaged by President Museveni, who is also the chief architect of this model, is to leave nobody(all Ugandans involved in any productive venture) behind, especially the nearly 39% of Ugandan households from subsistence to the money economy.
The PDM is supported by seven key strategic pillars of; Production, storage, processing and marketing; infrastructure and economic services; financial inclusion; mindset change; parish based information management system; and governance and administration.
The model will also advance the four sectors of wealth and job creation as identified by the NRM government i.e.; commercial agriculture, industrialization, services and information, communication and technology. So for any Ugandan to benefit from the PDM, they must be involved in any one or more of the above sectors of wealth and job creation. He/she should also be a member of one or more associations dealing in productive ventures in their communities (villages and parishes).
The Parish Development Model places economic power in the hands of the communities in real terms, geographically (as nearer as the parish level) and financially (beneficiaries receiving money directly and deciding what they can do with the money).Therefore, as long as you are involved in any productive venture such as a taxi driving, bodaboda, singer or artist, mobile money, electronics and repair, mechanic repairs, restaurants, hotel and lodges, crop and animal production, tailoring, shoe making, cobbler, juice making, baking and catering, hawking, comedy, dancing, wielding, painting, carpentry, building and construction, garbage collection, etc., and whether your business is a micro, small or medium enterprise, this PDM is for you to take advantage of.
All you need is to get organized in groups of individuals who deal similar ventures at your villages and parish levels, request for the money and it shall be given to you. Use the money once received to boost your venture in order to increase your household income.
For instance, if smallholder farmers or large scale farmers get together in a farmers’ association (these could be coffee or any other crop farmers). Their association is registered with the PDM and evaluated by the authorities and once found eligible, they are given money which is channeled into their association accounts. These monies can be shared among individual farmers who then can invest into their farming activities hence increasing their wealth in the long run.
The authorities will also train such organized farmers in group marketing to improve their marketing skills plus bargaining power and increase their farm gate prices hence increasing their wealth with a net effect of job creation along value chains. Similarly, for the urban poor and organized rural groups that lack land but have viable income generating activities who are mainly women, youth groups and persons with special needs, they are first strengthened through training on group dynamics, savings and credit and basic management techniques after which they are given money which they share among group members to inject in individual ventures, hence increasing on their incomes. Everybody from all sectors of wealth and job creation is a beneficiary of the Parish Development Model.
However, what everybody should know is that the money under the financial inclusion pillar of the PDM is a revolving fund that must be returned back to the Parish cooperatives society accounts for use by other potential beneficiaries. Therefore beneficiaries should desist from misusing the money they receive from the PDM as this will cause big losses to the government but also throw them into trouble with the authorities.
The PDM is all about money and that is why the government has fronted the third pillar of financial inclusion (the revolving fund) as its flagship and subsequently invested 17 million shillings for each parish as a revolving fund with next financial year seeing 100 million shillings planned for each parish.
It is therefore the role of all state and non-state actors such as members of parliament; the local government leaders; RDC’s; and district technical officers who are charged with the governance and administration of the PDM to provide the much needed leadership at their community levels to ensure the success of the PDM.
Finally, it is too early to accommodate confusion. The information is available, the money is available, and all we need is to get organized, grab the money and work harder and smarter than usual to ensure our individual wealth creation acts as building blocks for the country’s general socio-economic transformation.
For God and My Country!
The writer is an NRM cadre, former Staff at ONC and 2021-2026 WMP contestant Bulambuli district. 0703798786/0779120478. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
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