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Uganda: New plan to allow parishes recruit diploma holders

Kampala. Thousands of jobs will be available for Ugandans with diplomas at all parishes ahead of the 2021 elections if the proposal by the NRM Central Executive Committee (CEC) is adopted and implemented.

A resolution by the National Resistance Movement CEC members meeting at the luxurious Chobe Hotel in Murchison Falls National Park has shifted the focal point of transformation of the economy from the sub-counties and districts down to the parish level.

“The CEC sitting here at Chobe Safari Lodge in Nwoya District has discussed and resolved to use parishes as the focal points in the new strategy sought to transform Uganda’s enclave economy,” the NRM said in a communique yesterday.

Mr Mike Mukula, the session chairman where the resolutions were passed, could not be reached for further explanation on how the programme will be operationalised.

When asked how this will work out, Mr Rogers Mulindwa, the NRM communications officer, said: “Those are the details to be considered later.”

But he added that the model will bring administration closer to the communities and ensure people benefit from government programmes.

Mr Mulindwa also said the technical staff at the parishes will be tasked to gather data on households which they will forward to the sub-counties and districts for planning purposes.

“You know currently the 68 per cent of those who survive on subsistence farming live in the parishes and shifting the transformation focal point to the parishes will help them better to access government

programmes,” he said. In the run-up to the 2016 presidential elections, Go Forward presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi weaved his manifesto around five pillars, among them was revival of the economy.

Under this, Mr Mbabazi said his government, if elected to power, would establish in all sub-counties an advanced sub-county model which would comprise a huge complex having a community bank, police post, a silo, insurance services, registration bureau, community library, a creative laboratory, among others, which would in the grand plan create some 450,000 jobs countrywide.

The CEC members are making plans for the 2021 elections, with sources at the meeting saying the discussions have been smooth and the party top leaders believe the new proposal will give NRM a huge boost in the polls.

The Local Government Act provides that there shall be a chief in each sub-county and in each parish who shall be appointed by the District Service Commission.

Overseers
The chief shall be the administrative head and accounting officer of the respective sub-county or parish. In addition, the current structures provide for extension workers, community development officers, health inspectors and sub-accountants among others at sub-counties.

It is not clear whether the new NRM proposal will use the current administrative structures as provided for under the Local Government Act or require a parallel structure like the Operation Wealth Creation did when it was set up despite the existing National Agricultural Advisory Service.

According to the Electoral Commission data, Uganda has 7,431 parishes and 1,403 sub-counties as of 2016.

This means that government will recruit 7431 parish chiefs and the same number of extension workers for the parishes.
A total of 1,403 sub-county chiefs, same number of extension workers will likely be recruited to provide extension services in addition to the similar number of sub-county community development officers.

However, Mr Mulindwa could not explain whether the same parish teams will be the ones to collect data from the villages to feed into the sub-counties and districts. Uganda has 57,842 villages.

The CEC members said using the parish as the focal point for the transformation will move Uganda to the next level of development.

However, nothing is said about how the new proposals will be funded. Currently, a number of districts are operating below 50 per cent of the required human resource due to inadequate funding.

“A number of elements shall be established at the parish level that will include a Store, Technical Services, Irrigation Efforts and Fertiliser Distribution among others. The Parish Chief shall coordinate these activities.

The Administration & Technical staff at this level shall possess a Diploma as the minimum academic qualification,” the communique reads in part.

The resolution says officers at the sub-county level shall be degree holders, qualified in Crop and Animal Husbandry.

“We are not creating new banks. Government will work with the current ones that have favourable conditions to provide services to the farmers.

We want to ensure that we pull up the 68 percent of the population which still depends on subsistence farming, to improve their household incomes,” he said.

On Sunday, the CEC observed that lining up of voters for village and parish elections is the best cost effective option and said the party will adopt it for the forthcoming party primaries.

Other proposals

It is further proposed that banking and financial service centres shall be located at the district and made available at the parish and credit (loans) shall be focused initially on coffee, maize, cocoa, citrus and vanilla among others.

When asked whether government will set up a special bank to provide financial services to the local people, Mr Mulindwa said they will work with the existing banks to ensure that the loan terms are favourable.

By Daily Monitor

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