Masaka PDM Beneficiaries Protest High Bank Charges

Beneficiaries of the Parish Development Model-PDM in Masaka City are protesting the high charges deducted by commercial banks.

On Tuesday last week, the Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja launched the disbursement of PDM funds to organized beneficiaries in Masaka City but it has turned out that they are discontented with how the program is being handled.

Mathias Ddumba, the Chairperson Bulayi Ward in Nyendo-Mukungwe Division, who is also a member of the Parish Development Committee, indicates that the commercial banks are charging each of the beneficiaries between 35,000 to 50,000 Shillings as accounts management fees, which he says is exorbitant.

Prior to the release of funds, the beneficiaries were instructed to open up accounts in the commercial banks where the money would be deposited and eventually accessed by the individual beneficiaries.

But Ddumba protested that the beneficiaries were earlier charged 10,000 Shillings for opening accounts, which they thought was enough to manage the accounts.

He argues that all the beneficiaries are having part of their money withheld by banks, yet they are supposed to pay back in full amounts during the loan recovery period.

Mathias Ssekalegga, the Chairperson of Bugya Cell in Nyendo-Mukungwe Division says that they were never briefed about the deductions during the program planning meetings. He argues that the money was requested with a defined purpose, saying that any deductions directly affect the beneficiaries’ set targets, warning that some of them may use it as an excuse to default on the loans lent out to them.

Huudu Hussein, the Masaka City Resident Commissioner has called for calm among the beneficiaries pleading that he is going to engage the stakeholders to handle the situation to their satisfaction.

“I have an obligation to ensure that this program registers success, so I cannot tolerate anything that may frustrate it,” he noted.

Sheila Akello, the Masaka City PDM Focal Person denies knowledge about the deductions, saying that they were never included in the guidelines upon which the program in implemented.

According to the PDM program implementing schedule, the government has since injected close to 800 million shillings into 440 registered approved beneficiaries in Masaka City.

It is part of a total of 1.25 billion Shillings, which the city anticipated to get in this financial year.

Overall, the government planned every financial year; to inject 100 million shillings into every Parish Development Model-PDM SACCOs to support substance households to transition into the money economy, by providing them with working capital.

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