Lawmakers support easier access to Banks for PDM Funds

During Wednesday, November 22, 2023, lawmakers discussed the obstacles that must be overcome for the program to be implemented successfully.The lack of financial institutions, such as banks, has impeded the implementation of PDM in districts north of the Teso sub-region, such as Kapelebyong, Amuria, and Katakwi, according to Hon. Bosco Okiro MP of Usuk County.

In order to facilitate the receipt of funds by Parish Development Model (PDM) program beneficiaries, members of parliament have called for enhanced access to banking institutions.

During the Committee on Public Service and Local Government’s Report on the Parish Development Model’s implementation status, the Members of Parliament discussed it and stated that doing so would guarantee the success of the program’s third pillar, which focuses on financial inclusion and aims to boost the availability and use of financial products and services.

During Wednesday, November 22, 2023, lawmakers discussed the obstacles that must be overcome for the program to be implemented successfully.

The lack of financial institutions, such as banks, has impeded the implementation of PDM in districts north of the Teso sub-region, such as Kapelebyong, Amuria, and Katakwi, according to Hon. Bosco Okiro MP of Usuk County.

“Those who live in these areas have to travel to neighboring districts like Soroti to access money because there isn’t a bank nearby,” Okiror said.

The woman representative for Butaleja District, Hon. Florence Nebanda, stated that because there isn’t a bank in the district, people have to go all the way to Mbale district to get money.

According to Hon. Jennifer Driwaru, MP for Maracha District, recipients of PDM funds frequently spend the night in the nearby districts of Arua and Koboko while they wait to get their money.

The Minister for Local Government was counseled by Speaker Anita Among to advocate for mobile banking services in areas lacking formal banking establishments.

“You have to work with banks that can transfer funds to the recipients, so they can avoid making long walks and spending the night on bank verandas,” one of them stated.

According to Hon. Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the chairperson of the committee, some banks have given SACCOS registered under the program devices to streamline procedures.

Postbank created the Wendi platform as a mobile wallet in August 2023 to allow beneficiaries to access their funds without visiting a bank. According to Mapenduzi, other banks had also created PDM apps, some of which were even in the process of being released.

He noted that the government had agreements with the participating banks that allowed them to easily access financial support by integrating their systems with PDM’s. In exchange, the banks would charge certain fees in order to make a profit.

The presidential directive, he continued, that all PDM services be provided without charge and that recipients should receive the full Shs1 million, demoralized the banks.

One recommendation in the Committee report states, “There should be an engagement between government [Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Local Government] and the banking institutions to address concerns arising from departure from the earlier terms and conditions with the banks.”

To advise beneficiaries on the proper use of PDM funds, Hon. Laura Kanushu, the PWD Representative, and Hon. Akol Anthony, MP, Kilak North County, suggested extensive mindset-changing initiatives.

Every six months, the Parliament will receive a thorough report from the Minister of Local Government, Hon. Raphael Magyezi, detailing the success of the PDM program.

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