Gov’t will not buy phones for PDM groups – Nabbanja

Uganda's Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja.

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, has clarified that there is no provision for government to provide mobile phones to beneficiaries of the Parish Development Model (PDM).

She made the clarification while presenting during Prime Minister’s Time at the Thursday, July 6, 2023 plenary sitting chaired by Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa.

Ms Nabbanja said that all PDM beneficiaries are required to have bank accounts, mobile money accounts or use agency banking where a person is given a token from the Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (SACCOs) and pays through a banking agent.

“The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development signed MoUs with commercial banks supporting the PDM arrangement to provide a computer to each SACCO, carry out financial literacy, open PDM SACCO accounts and charge a small interest on SACCO accounts,” she said.

Adding: “That means the commercial banks will provide PDM SACCOS with a computer.”

She was responding to a question by the West Budama County South MP, Emmanuel Otaala, who called on government to provide beneficiaries with mobile phones, especially those in rural areas with no access to computers.

Mr Otaala said that the process of implementing the PDM flagship programme is being done through an electronic system whereby the money is sent directly from the finance ministry to the parishes.

“The approval of beneficiaries is also being done electronically using computers and the beneficiaries who are living below the poverty line must also have mobile telephone lines registered in their own name to receive the money,” said Otaala.

As such, Mr Otaala said that most of the parishes in rural sub-counties are missing out on the PDM because they lack computers to be used in the approval process and the beneficiaries, too, do not have mobile phones to receive the money.

“Such rural parishes without computers are now experiencing a situation where money is lying idle in their parish SACCOS, without being accessed by the supposed beneficiaries,” he said.

Government is implementing the PDM, with the intention of uplifting 39 per cent households from subsistence to the money economy.

The PDM is premised on seven pillars including agriculture value chain development, infrastructure and economic services, financial inclusion, social services, community mobilisation and mind-set change, parish-based management information system and governance and administration.

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