By Spy Uganda
Legislators on the Budget Committee have opposed a proposal to provide additional funding to facilitate the presidential model villages’ project in the next financial year.
The chairperson of the Committee on Presidential Affairs, Jesca Ababiku, who had on Thursday, 28 April 2022 appeared before the Budget Committee to defend the proposed sectoral budget estimates and unfunded priorities for FY2022/23, laid a request seeking for an additional Shs14.2 billion to effectively facilitate the 27 model villages in the country.
However, the Budget Committee that was chaired by Hon. Ignatius Wamakuyu Mudimi was not pleased with the proposal, saying it is a duplication of programmes, considering that government is in the pipeline to implement the Parish Development Model (PDM).
“The committee wants us to allocate more money to State House to facilitate the 27 presidential model villages, yet the President is implementing the Parish Development Model. Let us not contradict our policies; we cannot be talking about PDM and model villages,” Amolatar Woman MP, Agnes Atim Apea, said.
The Presidential Initiative on Model Villages is a project under the poverty alleviation initiatives in State House, which started in 2004 with the objective of creating model farms in various districts. This was in a bid to transform poor communities into self-sustaining communities through best practices of agriculture, market-led production and value addition.
According to the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for FY 2022/23, Vote 002 (State House) has been allocated Shs 2 billion out of the required Shs 16.2 billion to facilitate the 27 model villages, leaving a funding gap of Shs 14.2 million.
In defence of the project, the Presidential Affairs committee chairperson, Ababiku, said there is need to ensure the continued sustainability of the model villages because they are tested and have proved successful.
“These are presidential demonstration learning centres and anyone can access these centres. So, we cannot kill this initiative because of PDM which is still a new initiative and whose success has not yet been measured,” Ababiku said.
Her efforts, however, fell on deaf ears as MPs on the Budget Committee remained opposed to her request.
West Budama North East MP, Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, who rejected the proposal, said there was equally no need to provide Shs 3 billion to the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity under the Office of the President to develop anti-corruption laws, policies and instill morals in the citizenry.
“This country does not need more money to form more laws to fight corruption; the laws we have are enough. If a person is asking for more money to form laws and policies, then that person is corrupt. This money should be reallocated to another sector,” Odoi said.
Whereas the Office of the President is seeking Shs 3 billion to mitigate corruption under the Directorate, only Shs 500 million has been allocated in the FY 2022/23, leaving a funding gap of Shs 2.85 billion.