The limited number of parishes as compared to population size is limiting the effective implementation and intended benefits of the Parish Development Model (PDM) program in Masaka City, the leaders have complained.
The offices of the Masaka City Town Clerks and Commercial Officer are at the height of coordinating mobilization and registration activities of beneficiaries of the PDM program project, so that they are ready for funding before the end of this financial year.
But the political and opinion leaders in Masaka city are afraid that the program may fail to present the desired impact in their communities due to the current number of parishes that are not commensurate to the population size and their needs.
Mousa Wamala, an elders representative of the Masaka City Development Forum; a platform of stakeholders who act as a linkage between the leadership and the local community, says that despite its current population of close to 350,000 people, Masaka city is geographically demarcated into only 25 parishes, that will translate into little financial allocations.
According to PDM’s initial disbursement schedule by the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, Masaka City was allocated a tune of Sh 434.7 million , to be distributed in rations of Sh17 million per parish, to set the pace for the implementation of the program.
The next financial year, the government earmarked to fund each of the parishes with Sh 100 million , to capitalize the different enterprises, as a tool to alleviate poverty in communities.
But Wamala indicates that the money allocated to the city is just peanuts compared to the population with its various demands, arguing that it is proper that government gives special consideration to the city to at least allow them to combine at most three cells into one project implementation unit to people to feel the real impacts.
According to him, the public is so eager to benefit from the PDM program, demanding that government works out adjustments that can lead to a fair distribution of resources and having the most of the public needs covered.
Florence Namayanja, the Masaka City Mayor while speaking during the program’s stakeholders meeting, also expressed fear that limited funds are going to be scattered to a very wide population and land area, hence minimizing its implications.
She urges that with the current area of 360 square kilometers and estimated population size of 350,000 people it is irrational for Masaka City to have only 25 parishes, which will limit its benefit in the area.
Meanwhile, Mathias Mpuuga the MP for Nyendo-Mukungwe city division also Leader of the Opposition in Parliament (LOP) has advised the local leadership to undertake the process of creating new local administrative units as an approach to create the necessary infrastructure for effective implementation of the program.
He explains that despite the Ministry of Local Government’s ban on the creation of new administrative units due to heavy cost implications, parliament is vigorously engaging the relevant organs of government to find justifications for rescinding the position.
The concerns by leaders in Masaka, come at the backdrop of complaints by section of MPs from Buganda, Busoga, and Northern Uganda region who complained to the parliament about the big size of parishes in the areas compared to the other parts of the country that will receive uniform funding under PDM.