A colossal amount of UGX.594 million Parish Development Model (PDM) funds have been mismanaged by malicious actors in the first year of implementation, according to the Auditor General’s report.

The said monies have been swindled at the highest level and remain unaccounted for by various Local Governments, according to the 2021/2022 annual Auditor General’s report presented to Parliament by John Muwanga on Thursday 19th, 2023.

This validates skepticism and suspicion among a section of the citizenry on the highly likelihood of intrigue and massive corruption in the famed PDM poverty alleviation intervention strategy.

In the report, it was clearly stipulated that UGX.29.5 million that were transferred to each of the 3,214 SACCOs as revolving fund were not registered under the Cooperative Societies Act, neither did they sign the Parish Revolving Fund financing agreements, yet it is one of the prerequisites for them to be able to receive the said funds.

Also, the report highlighted that funds disbursed to SACCOs varied from one Local Government to another with SACCOs receiving amounts ranging from UGX.2.3m to UGX.17.8m.

Besides,1,502 SACCOs in 70 Local Governments did not receive any funding, with government attributing the funding variations to lack of accurate data on the number of Parishes and shortfall in releases.

Worse still, the arrangement to enlist Parish chiefs to oversee the implementation of the strategy in different districts was characterized by terrible chaos and mismanagement, marked by forgery of academic documents.

He supplied an example of Butaleja district in which 15 of the 39 Parish chiefs whose credentials were keenly scrutinized, did not possess the necessary education documents which cost government UGX.12 million.

“PDM funds amounting to UGX.594.7 million in 5 LGs relating to administrative costs, staff costs, gadgets and tools were not adequately supported with in the prerequisite documentation,” reads the report in part.

“I noted irregularities in the recruitment of Parish chiefs. For instance in Butaleja DLG, 15 out of 39 Parish chiefs had forged academic documents, resulting in the loss of academic funds worth UGX. 12million.”

The report whose findings are to be scrutinized by Parliament’s accountability committees before the final decision is taken, stipulated that much as PDM funds were to be sent directly to different SACCOs, they were instead transferred to district accounts, something contrary to the operational guidelines of the intervention.

In this way, the Auditor General said UGX.79.2 billion were sent directly to different district accounts and that by December during the compilation of his report, these funds were idle on these accounts, on top of UGX.358 million that were illegally repurposed from being borrowed and channeled to operationalization of the strategy.

More UGX.17.5 billion that were to be distributed to buy office equipment like computers, paying workers remunerations were illegally repurposed to the revolving fund in 146 Local Governments without authorization contrary to Regulation 16(1) of the Public Finance Management Regulations (PFMR) of 2016.

More shocking, the report also discovered that government entities tasked with crafting statistical data to determine the number of citizens to benefit from this intervention including Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), Local Governments, Ministry of Information and National Guidance did not efficiently execute their mandates.

Antony Kimuli, the Director of Audit in the office of the Auditor General said government was not sufficiently ready to implement the PDM, something that occasioned this kind of chaos.

“We saw that at its infancy, government did not possess sufficient data clarifying which categories of people to benefit from this intervention, and their numbers. So, you find that the plan on what was to be accomplished superseded the funds available,” said Kimuli.

It should of course be recalled that in 2021/2022, government launched the PDM, marketing it as a vehicle to alleviate 9% of the country’s households from subsistence economy to money economy and UGX.139 billion out of UGX.234 billion was released.

Government has in the past come up with poverty alleviation programs, which among others include; Emyooga, Youth Livelihood Fund, Operation Wealth Creation, Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program, Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF), but they have all suffered the same fate, marred by corruption and gross mismanagement of funds.

 

 

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The post Shock as UGX.594 million PDM funds mismanaged in first year of implementation appeared first on Watchdog Uganda.

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