Members of Parliament have rejected a proposal by Government to move money meant for Uganda Women Empowerment Project (UWEP) to the Parish Development Model (PDM).
The legislators noted that the move to allocate resources meant for UWEP to the implementation of PDM will affect the welfare of women and derail the efforts to recover the money already in circulation.
The move by the legislators followed the presentation of the report of the Parliamentary Committee on Gender, Labour and Social development on the ministerial policy statements and budget estimates of the FY 2022/23.
While making her presentation the chairperson of the committee, Flavia Kabahenda noted that the proposed budget had indicated that money was transferred from UWEP to PDM.
A total of Sh29.2 billion out of the UWEP budget of Sh32 billion has been re-allocated from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development leaving Shs2.98 billion to only cater for secretariat operations and salaries of staff.
Kabahenda told the house that women would not benefit from the PDM as much as they would have benefited from UWEP because the bulk of the funds under PDM are aimed at agricultural enterprises yet majority of the women in Uganda have limited access to factors of production such as land.
Legislators led by Speaker Anita Among noted that government should not ‘suffocate’ a well performing programme in favour of a new programme whose success they are unsure of.
“Never take our money as women, infact we need an increase for women, you cannot scrap money from UWEP to PDM, that is a no go area, women need their money,” Among said.
She has further noted that women are comfortable with the way they have been using the money under the UWEP programme. She said that not all women will be in SACCOs under the PDM.
“I do not think that when you want to give birth to a new baby you should suffocate the old child. UWEP is the only thing I feel in Terego. Therefore, we are not accepting that this money be shifted when we do not even understand the Parish Development Model,” Rose Obigah the Terego District Woman MP said.
Among directed that UWEP funds should not be reallocated saying the programme has registered tremendous contribution to the welfare of women as observed from the 72 percent recovery rate from funds loaned to women.
While responding to the report of the committee, Betty Among the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development told the house that her ministry would welcome Parliament’s resolution to halt the transfer of money from UWEP to PDM.
“I have made justification for this extensively in several meetings with the Finance Ministry and in Cabinet; the decision of Cabinet was that the Sh29.2 billion under UWEP be removed and merged under the PDM. But if this House feels the money should be retained, the committee report should be amended to reflect this,” said Amongi.
The Minister further informed MPs of a Presidential directive to allocate Sh34.7 billion recovered from loans under UWEP to a revolving fund for both the Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) and UWEP.
She told the house that the Cabinet had instructed her to merge the structures UWEP and YLP such that they should work hand in hand because currently the secretariat of YLP doesn’t have any funds to run its operations.
Docus Achen the Aleptong Woman MP opposed the idea of merging YLP and UWEP under the same structure noting that the success rate of YLP has been very low and would easily derail UWEP’s progress.