President Yoweri Museveni last month launched the Parish Development Model (PDM). The Shs490 billion program is meant to eradicate poverty through the execution of development activities at the parish level.
However, according to Joseph Kabuleta, the Leader of the National Economic Empowerment Dialogue (NEED), PDM is doomed to fail.
Addressing the people of Tooro Sub-Region on Friday, Kabuleta said PDM is already a failed government poverty eradication program just like the other past initiatives such as Operation Wealth Creation, Bonna Bagaggawale, Emyooga among others.
“I don’t have so much hope in Parish Development Model but I wish I did because I would love to see you people develop. The truth is, it was launched amidst blaze of publicity, a lot of money was spent in publicizing it; almost Shs300 billion taken to the Ministry of Agriculture to go and do what they called mindset change which is important, but then you see they are spending too much money on training you than what they are going to give you,” the former presidential candidate asserted.
“…. so you see in certain areas, people are going to be given Shs500 million but the amount of money used to train them is Shs3.3 billion. So they are using Shs3. 3 billion to train people on how to use Shs500 million.I don’t think its going to be any different from the other failed government programs. It’s just a new one, a new kid on the block which is doomed to fail,” he added.
Kabuleta also lashed out at the government for allegedly keeping Ugandans in poverty deliberately.
“President Museveni’s Government destabilized the market for our agricultural produce like coffee, tea, and vanilla. Every money-generating enterprise which you could use to get money, the government killed it and now they come pretending that they want to give you free money so that they alleviate you from poverty, that is not right,” the former journalist said.
“In NEED, we say all the agricultural ventures which you people undertake can help you generate a lot of money from them since they can be sold at relatively good prices in markets but the government is making it impossible for you to benefit from your sweat by destabilizing the market through levying heavy taxes and hiking prices of commodities. All this is done to keep you poor.”
However, Kabuleta advised the NRM government to sensitize, create an enabling environment for Ugandans to work and benefit from their natural wealth. To Kabuleta, if the government does that, the abject poverty among citizens will be no more.
“These heavy taxes which the government levies discourage farmers and business people. How are we going to reduce them so that the ordinary people like you benefit from your sweat without being mistreated economically?” he wondered.
“Government can do alot of things to empower you without giving you free money which in the end just distracts you. As NEED we believe that instead of giving people fish, the government should give them a hook so that they can go fishing by themselves. That’s the only way you can escape poverty.”
What Rwenzori sub-region locals say:
Simon Mugisa, an administrator of Tooro Kingdom said, ” You cannot alleviate people from poverty when prices of commodities are so high yet people are earning less. Now we have the Parish Development Model but I don’t think it will help to improve the livelihoods of Ugandans. We have had many government programs such as Emyooga, Bonna Bagaggawale, Youth Livelihood but they did not save the situation. Such programs are used to misuse taxpayer’s money.”
He added,” We don’t need free money from the government, we can work for ourselves as long as the authorities create an enabling environment for us to carry out our businesses. You cannot manage well something which you have not worked for.”
Ssetumba Godfrey Tamale also noted,” Parish Development Model is not going to help just like the previous programs which also didn’t help. These people are just distracting us to keep us in poverty.
Currently, Kabuleta is on a nationwide sensitization campaign premised on protecting Uganda’s national deposits that could be used by citizens to alleviate themselves from poverty.
Launched last year, NEED, a political movement under the stewardship of Kabuleta has so far managed to spread the economic empowerment message to Busoga, Buganda, Bugisu, Bukedi, Teso, Sebei, Lango, Acholi, West Nile and Tooro sub-regions.