The Local Government heads of production and Commerce departments have been urged to be architects and implementors of interventions that respond to the socio-economic challenges faced by communities in their localities. The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government, Mr. Ben Kumumanya reminded production officers that they are in a better position to lead the agenda for socio-economic transformation in the country.Mr. Ben Kumumanya, the PS Ministry of Local Government addressing Commercial and Production Officers  at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala on Friday
In response to issues undermining production and household income such as the escalating livestock diseases like foot and mouth disease (FMD), Mr. Kumumanya said that Local Government officials who look for solutions to development challenges from Central government officials are enemies of decentralisation.

He said that failure by communities to appreciate the role of extension services had greatly undermined the second objective of decentralisation which was intended to, among others, promote peoples’ feelings of ownership of programmes and projects.

He urged the officers to promote participation by all the sectors of the society in Local Economic Development (LED) which was introduced to enhance people’s incomes and widen the local tax base.

He specifically pointed out that Secretaries for Production, were nearly redundant at the time when they are supposed to be at the forefront of leading the LED agenda.

“Initiate, catalyse and drive processes that engage stakeholders in envisioning the future, you must provoke members of the society, the farmers, the traders to participate in their development,” he advised. The PS commended the production Officers for keeping the boat a float. “There is no sinking…amidst all challenges, you have held on to the docket and are contributing to the social economic transformation of Uganda.”

Ambassador Philip Idro, the Presidential Advisor on Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) also appealed to the production and commercial  officers to explore the vast opportunities provided by regional markets.  He advised them to work with the right partners find interventions within the available resources so that they can change the equation in Uganda.

Dr. Edward Katende the Executive Director of Uganda Development Forum who represented the National Coordinator of the Parish Development Model (PDM) recognised the efforts of the production and commercial officers in the implementation of the PDM in past one year.

“We have registered 10,594 PDM SACCOs and capitalised 10, 585, you have supported our people to disburse 1.018 trillion to 1 million households. Our tasks now is to ensure that the enterprises that we have invested in are implemented,” he said.

Beneficiaries who access financing under the Parish Revolving Fund (PRF) are allowed to invest in any of the seven key areas which include food crops, fruits, poultry, apiculture, piggery, diary and coffee.

Mr. Katende emphasised that each district is expected to undertake enterprise selection and prioritise only three enterprises based on profitability, availability of market, land and agro-ecological suitability.

The Production officers, through their national Coordinator, Dr. Fred Mukulu, from Mukono district were grateful that PDM came with both the resources and structures that boosted their efforts. He reported that in a record one month, PDM had established and funded 300,000 village enterprise groups, over 1 million active beneficiary households and over 50,000 PDM SACCOs. A section of participants who turned up for the one-day meeting of production and Commercial officers

“Previously we would struggle to create one (savings) group per subcounty per year, but PDM has created for us tens of thousands of groups, an average of 2,000- groups per district. Five years from now, each PDM SACCO will be operating a 700 million revolving fund.” He boasted.

A section of participants who attended the one day consultative meeting at the Imperial Royal Hotel. (Photo Credit: Ceaser Mukasa)

James Kigozi, the Principal Commercial officer Mubende Municipal Council and the National Coordinator of Commercial Officers accused most central government agencies of not involving Local governments in their interventions a practice, he says, has negatively affected the sustainably of such programmes.

The Production Department in the Local Government is in charge of implementing production policies, regulations and programmes; delivering farming, production, marketing extension services to the population and the management of production facilities through inspection, repair and re-development.

The department of Trade, Industry and Local Economic Development (TLED) also known as the commercial department is responsible for facilitating the process of wealth creation and increasing citizen’s income levels through the operationalisation of LED at the Local Government level. The department Initiates development projects and market linkages in tourism, trade and Industry.
The meeting was held at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala on Friday 9th February, 2024.

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