President Yoweri Museveni has directed that people who borrow Parish Development Model money should not be harassed to pay back so quickly, but should be given more time.
The President issued the order today Tuesday while speaking to the NRM parliamentary caucus who are currently in retreat at the National Leadership Institute (NALI) in Kyankwanzi district. The President was in the company of the First Lady Maama Janet Museveni who is also the Minister of Education and Sports.
He said he had received several concerns and complaints from the locals during the recent presidential tours.
“Some people reported to me that the SACCO leaders started demanding that they pay back the money after four months contrary to our intent and purpose of supporting the people to get out of poverty,” the president said.
The President stated: “As lawyers say, for the avoidance of doubt, nobody should be asked to pay back the Emyooga money before 12 months. The person may decide to pay it all at once or choose to pay in installments after 12 months up to 24 months.
He reminded legislators that the money being put into Emyooga and the Parish Development Model (PDM) is a stick of dynamite against parasites in Uganda. “It is against money lenders and commercial banks who have been stealing from Ugandans for a long and so, they are trying to fail those programs.”
He also raised a concern that some businessmen are said to be getting this money from SACCOs and using it to go to China to import without benefitting members.
On Emyooga, the President guided that beneficiaries be allowed enough to invest and produce before they start to pay back the money.
“Since the focus of PDM is on agriculture, crops take time to mature. Let the borrowers start to pay after 24 months. The borrower can decide to pay all the money at once or in installments for between 24 to 36 months, Museveni said, adding, “The purpose is for our people to grow and not to grow the SACCO fund. So don’t just concentrate on the funding to grow.”
The parish development model is an improvement from Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) where people used to receive grants to now giving them a revolving fund where government injects into SACCOs a one-off seed capital.
He called upon MPs to always guide locals on these programs in the simplest way possible.
He underscored the importance of leaders communicating well with ordinary people. According to Museveni, the elites ‘Abasoma’ previously in Ankole for example did not care about the ordinary people although some of them were not poor, they lived separate lives.
“This has been the major problem between the elite ‘Abasoma’ with ordinary people. The ‘abasoma’ did not care and the few who cared did not know how to properly communicate with them in the language they understand which I detected while on my tours,” Museveni expressed concern.
He also decried corruption which he said is still a major hindrance to the implementation of these flagship programs. In some cases, I discovered outright corruption where some RDCs are asking for money.
The president asked the PDM secretariat not to harass locals while forming SACCOs, giving the Gulu district, as an example, the President said that people were rushed to form SACCOs without following due process.
You are the people on the ground, come and honestly report to us once you find any anomalies in the processes” the president said as he appealed to MPs.
The Minister of State for Microfinance Hon. Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo who presented on the Emyooga in retreat said that the government aims at availing affordable credit which can be used by ordinary people to engage in production.
He however noted that some people are likely to remain poor due to a mindset challenge where they think that whatever has been given to them is for eating and they wait for the government to donate again.
“Our people should be advised on what they ought to do. They should be told that wealth creation is a personal responsibility and not for the government or of their leaders,” Kasolo said.
He outlined major challenges facing the government which include; negative Propaganda from money lenders and shortsighted politicians who think that by properly implementing government projects, they will have no reason to convince voters to elect them.
He appealed to MPs and other leaders to go back to their respective constituencies and take charge of all poverty alleviation programs.
“Stand firm against some rogue RDCs and commercial officers who seek money from the population under the guise of transport facilitation to offer them any services. If money is wasted, the people will come to you begging for donations yet the government gives them money to create their wealth,” Kasolo said.