President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has directed that the grace period for beneficiaries of the Parish Development Model-PDM and Emyooga programs to pay back their loans be extended to two years.
In this financial year, the government started the program of organizing and delivering public and private sector intervention for wealth creation and employment generation at the parish level as the lowest economic planning unit.
Under the PDM, each parish is organized into a cooperative society, which is directly funded with 100 million Shillings. The money is supposed to be revolved among the members to support their income-generating enterprises.
The PDM has coincided with the new Presidential Wealth and Job Creation Initiative, Emyooga which was launched in 2019, targeting specialized enterprise groups at constituency levels.
Each of the constituencies was mobilized into 19 Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies that are each funded with 30 million Shillings that is also supposed to operate as a revolving fund.
Speaking to leaders from the Greater Masaka Sub-region on his monitoring tour of the government programs on Tuesday, President Museveni expressed pessimism that the two programs may fail to meet their intentions, if the beneficiaries are rushed to pay back the loans.
He directed the implementing ministries and departments to extend the grace periods of both programs to two years before the beneficiaries begin paying back the loans.
According to the President, the money can hardly leave the intended tangible results if the beneficiaries operate on loan repayment schedules of four months and one-year periods for Emyooga and PDM respectively.
He also cautioned the program implementers against soliciting any registration fees from the beneficiaries, indicating that such charges create unwanted structural deterrence to the targeted beneficiaries, which government will not tolerate.
The President indicated that he was partly pleased that the communities in the greater Masaka have made recommendable progress as far as improving their livelihoods is concerned.
He however challenged the local leaders to strive to consolidate and expand the achievements that have been registered so far, adding that the government is going to a specific plan of supporting the region with irrigation systems to support farmers to increase their productivity.
But Andrew Lukyamuzi Batemyetto, the Masaka LCV Chairperson requested the President that the area is supported with value additional facilities, such that the farmers can earn more income from their produce.