On May 26, 2021, the current NRM government was sworn into power. The NRM ran their campaign on the very populous slogan “Securing your future” and SecretsKnown this week tracks milestones of the government a year later in office. Among the notable achievements so far include;
The National Resistance Movement has scored highly on women empowerment and gender equality. Appointment of women in key and top leadership positions in the country is unprecedented in the past governments. 50 percent of the current cabinet are women heading different government ministries and departments.
The prime minister who doubles as the leader of government business in parliament and the head of the legislative arm of government are both women, this is unparalleled in the country’s history. The NRM government has not only appointed but also provided for affirmative action positions to ensure the representation of women at both national and local levels to increase their participation in policy and decision-making process. Uganda has a total of 146 district women representatives in parliament.
SecretsKnown also credits the efforts by government in taking a revolutionary approach in the social-economic transformation of the citizenry. Through the NRM manifesto slogan “Securing your future”, government is walking the talk through a bottom-up development approach called the Parish Development Model (PDM). This approach ensures people are at the center of decision making, sense of ownership, commitment and accountability to any form of programming. The Parish Development Model will accentuate participation of local communities in selecting their own goals and means of achieving the same in development initiatives.
Government has allocated over UGX 1.5 trillion ($398.3 million) in the national budget to operationalize the parish development model as a revolving fund. According to a survey conducted by Uganda National Households, 39 percent of households (3.3 million) are in subsistence economy; of which 24.2 percent were agricultural households and 14.8 percent were non-agricultural households.
The parish revolving fund seeks to break the vicious cycle of poverty at local level where 3.3 million households are trapped in the subsistence economy characterized by low-income levels and unemployment. SecretsKnown appreciates and recognizes the parish development model as a unique approach to transforming social-economic livelihoods in sense that it is multi-sectoral and all-inclusive since it provides for holistic improvement in livehoods and incomes of the households across the country, unlike other programmes.
The Parish Development Model is designed and implemented on seven pillars that are; Agricultural Value-chain development (Production, storage, Processing and Marketing), Infrastructure and economic services, financial inclusion, social services, community mobilization and mindset change, Parish-based management information system, and Governance and administration.
Government of Uganda has allocated UGX 17 million ($4,515) to each parish as a parish revolving fund for the financial year 2022/23 that will go directly to parish development SACCO. This is a good start in the journey on social-economic transformation. However, it is imperative to note the corruption tendencies that have engulfed previous economic empowerment government programs. Henceforth, SecretsKnown emphasizes the need for government to empower locals to be responsive and hold the PDM officials at local level to account for all the decisions of their actions.
SecretsKnown extends a score on the National Resistance Movement government manifesto of 2021-2025 on efforts contributed towards economic and political integration. The admission of Democratic Republic of Congo to East African Community is a great milestone in terms of bilateral trade between the two countries. Uganda will increase its trade flow due to its strategic positions and borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The government of Uganda has further made a strategic decision to jointly finance infrastructure projects particularly roads with the DRC for market access. Secretsknown applauds government under leadership of National Resistance Movement (NRM) as an anchor for championing economic and political integration.