According to Nambeshe, OWC has been dented by late delivery of inputs in form of seedlings, unclear beneficiaries’ identification mechanism and lack of extension services for farmers.
SERERE- Although government initiatives such as Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) and Youth Livelihood Program (LYP) were established in a bid to alleviate poverty and transform Ugandans, Members of Parliament have said such initiatives have not achieved the intended targets.
They said the impacts of the programmes are not felt in communities.
"I am sure that the motive for the initiatives has not been achieved. OWC lost its own earlier aim; it's like people who are benefiting are not targeted communities but rather suppliers," said John Baptist Nambeshe, the Member of Parliament for Manjiya County and committee member on the national economy.
According to Nambeshe, OWC has been dented by late delivery of inputs in form of seedlings, unclear beneficiaries' identification mechanism and lack of extension services for farmers.
He said this during MPs and Civil Society Organisations(CSOs) service delivery monitoring visit in Serere district. The visit which was organised by Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) was aimed at providing MPs, CSOs information about progress in the implementation of OWC and YLP programme.
" The problem is not only in Serere but also in Bududa, OWC has not helped because funds remain in hands of officials who are supposed to procure goods and distribute to citizens; I am told that even in YLP, a lot of money remains in hands of district community development officers," said Nambeshe.
The Rubanda County West MP Dennis Sabiti said: "We visited two projects of OWC, those are fruit seedling that were distributed; in one case, all the 30 seedlings given to a farmer in Alwala Village, Bugondo sub-county. In another scenario, out of over 100 orange seedlings, only 60 survived. That implies that the distribution timing and readiness of beneficiaries is not looked into by OWC officials."
According to him, death rate of animals distributed is very high. However, he said OWC must make sure that people are prepared before they distribute to intended beneficiaries to minimise losses.
About YLP, Sabiti who is also a member of Parliamentary Budget committee noted that many youths have diverted money into other activities and that's why recovery rate remains low.
"We are not doing proper things that we are supposed to do, OWC sit down and re-design the programme so that it benefits communities.," he said.
Reports from Serere district department of community-based services indicated that the district is in the h year of implementation of YLP from financial year 2014/2015 to 2017/2018.
According to the report, 1,953 youths have so far benefited. Out of these, 1,053 are males and the rest are females. It furthermore indicates that some of the challenges facing the project include low recovery rate from beneficiaries, disintegration of member groups, natural calamities such as drought among others.
Hellen Adoa, the Serere Woman MP said the district recovery for YLP funds remains low and that's why a number of youths are on the run for failure to pay back funds. She said instead, government should think about skilling youth not giving them physical money.
"On the side of OWC, we have seen two fair projects, but even in that, how do you give one cow to a group of 30 people; how does each individual benefit from this. The YLP is the worst project, it was not decided well, that's why it's hard to recover money back and as a result, a number of youths are on the run, others have been arrested," she said.
She noted that government should also empower people on value addition of their agricultural products.
Jeff Wadulo, the Parliamentary Liason Officer at CSBAG called for a comprehensive study on the OWC and YLP programmes to ascertain whether there has been impact on communities and look for a way forward.
According to him, there has been political interference in the two programmes.
"It is not surprising that some politicians fear speaking about wrong things citizens are doing because of fearing to be voted out. We need to divorce politics from development; you can see how youth are running away from paying back money; at the end, citizens are ones losing," he said.
‘Youths over expect free money'
The Serre LC5 chairman, Joseph Okojo Opit said the biggest challenge facing the youth is expecting free money and that's why most of them have not repaid the money given to them.
However, he also cited the possibility of the YLP not increase youth livelihoods.
"Much as we are focused on recovery, what is the impact of the YLP? Has it addressed the core objectives, what is the cost-benefit analysis? It is easy to recover the money when people's lives haven't been transformed," said Opit.
The Serere district OWC coordinator Lt.Col James Micheal Ochung said: "There's always high demand of inputs and what's supplied is less, which makes some people unhappy with the program,e."
According to him, the problem of long dry spell is affecting success of OWC beneficiaries. He cited on the 2016 dry season which affected almost all citrus seedlings beneficiaries.
Faustina Olaja, a resident of Alwala village Bugondo sub-county, in Serere and beneficiary from OWC told New Vision that he received 30 oranges seedlings in the financial year 2016/2017.
However, he said, because of late delivery (during dry season), they all withered. He said government should focus on timely delivery of inputs if OWC is to transform and have impact in communities.
"Another focus by government should be investment in irrigation schemes so that even if we get