News | THE NORTHERN LINK UG | Religious and cultural leaders in the Acholi sub-region have asked the government to review the Parish Development Model program.
The program is aimed at increasing household incomes and improving the quality of life of Ugandans with a specific focus on total transformation of the subsistence households into the money economy, as well as eradicating poverty and vulnerability in Uganda.
The leaders say the new government strategy has some loopholes that should be reviewed for it to be a success.
Sheikh Musa Khalil, the Acholi Muslim District Kadhi who also doubles as the Vice-Chairperson of Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative-ARLPI, says that the Islamic community is likely not going to benefit from the financial inclusion which is the third pillar of the Parish Development Model.
Under the third pillar, the government will operationalize and progressively capitalize a Parish Revolving Fund in each Parish. The fund will be used by the Parish Development Model SACCO to lend money at a 0.5 percent interest rate per month to member-owned enterprises that are engaged in the production, storage, value addition, processing, and marketing of agricultural enterprises.
According to Khalil, the Quran strongly condemns the Islamic faithful from lending or paying back loans with interest and that if the government fails to consider their concerns, the Islamic community shall be left out.
Khalil also faulted the government for delaying establishing the Islamic banking system. He however says the religious leaders under ARLPI are committed to actively participating in the mindset change of the locals which is the fifth pillar of the Parish Development Model.
Rwot Joseph Oywak from Pader district says the government should also consider the parents whose children are affected by the nodding syndrome. He said that they should also be made to borrow the loans from SACCOs under friendly terms and conditions, not at the required 0.5 percent interest rate.
Rwot Otinga Atuka Otto Yai of Lamogi Chiefdom says before disbursing out the loans to the targeted beneficiaries, the government should first device proper means of following up with the beneficiaries in a bid for them not to run away with the loans as experienced in the Youth Livelihood Funds, Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program, among others.
He says the community thinks the money under the Parish Development Model is a reward following the 2021 elections.
David Livingstone Amone, the Production and Investment Minister at Ker Kwaro Acholi says the capital being given under the program is meager for the sustainability of the strategy. Amone appealed to the Parish Development Coordination Committee to sit a review of all the issues brought up by the different stakeholders.
Beatrice Anywar, the Minister of State for Water and Environment says being a new strategy, the PDM still has some loopholes that shall be addressed by the government at an appropriate time.