“Use Infrastructure to Overcome poverty” – President to Ugandans
President Yoweri Museveni has said that whereas the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Government has lifted Uganda from a collapsed state and economy and registered commendable development especially in the infrastructure sector of the economy, the failure by majority of Ugandans to make good use of it to produce, generate wealth and overcome household poverty, remains a roadblock to the country’s prosperity agenda.
The President made the remarks this afternoon at Bukomero Technical Institute in Bukomero Town Council in Kiboga District while closing a four-day economic empowerment and sensitisation workshop for the youth of Kiboga District.
He said that NRM fought and ushered into the country peace, democratic governance and developed the economic infrastructure such as roads, electricity, schools and health facilities that have seen Uganda generally develop but noted that failure by the population to differentiate between the importance of development infrastructure and individual household income, is a stumbling bloc to the progress of the country.
He attributed much of the poverty in the country to ignorance by a big section of the population that own land but are stuck in subsistence agriculture as opposed to commercial profit oriented production. He said that this trend of affairs makes them non-participants in the country’s money economy that leads to poverty. He, therefore, urged the youth in Kiboga District to make good use of the skills acquired during the economic workshop they have undergone, sensitize and put into practice modern commercial oriented agriculture to be able to generate good income even when utilizes small acreage of land holding.
He observed that commercial agriculture does not only have potential to generate income for the youth and their families but also ensures food security for them as well as being a source of employment. He reminded the youth that the country has a high purchasing power to consume all they produce. He illustrated that capacity by reminding them of the billions of dollars Uganda spends annually on goods that can be manufactured locally such as textiles, hides and skins products, wood products and steel products, among others, that come from outside. He encouraged them to study the market and produce for import substitution.
The President pledged government commitment to train, equip and offer financial support to youth groups all over the country to start large and small-scale import substitution industries. He also called on Members of Parliament to support him for enhanced budgeting for this program to solve both poverty and unemployment challenges among the youth.
Mr. Museveni pledged Shs.20 million to each of the 13 SACCOs in Kiboga District that have undergone training. The SACCOs were formed based on the economic activities different groups engage in. He advised members of the SACCOs members to use the funds as seed money for loans for the benefit of all members.
He revealed that he will attract industrial investments to further boost the economic activities that have taken root in Kuboga District that include dairy, and fruit processing plants, furniture production and wood products among others.
Regarding democratic governance in Uganda, President Museveni advised the youth to ignore emerging and other diversionary groups that want to interfere with the country’s democracy. He reminded them that the return of democratic governance in Uganda was at a cost of the precious blood of freedom fighters that lost their dear lives to liberate the country.
On issues of the environment, the President used the occasion to warn the population against invading, settling and destroying wetlands saying that such illegal acts interfere with the ecological system that attract disastrous climatic change, natural disasters and also affect agricultural production. He, therefore, urged people to peacefully leave wetlands to avoid being evicted by the Government.
Turning to the reported continued illegal eviction of Bibanja holders in Kiboga District in particular and the entire country, the President said evictions were illegal and those conducting them were taking advantage of the ignorance of the law by the Bibanja holders. He advised the population to resist them. “There should be forceful eviction or forceful purchase of Bibanja holders’ land. All government agencies should ensure that,” he said.
The Government Chief Whip and Woman Member of Parliament for Kiboga District, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, reported that the district has already adopted and is implementing the Parish Economic Model to defeat household poverty. She added that the District has already registered commendable progress in the sectors of dairy, fruit and poultry farming, among others.
The youth, through their District Chairperson, Mr. Deogracious Katumba, commended President Museveni and the NRM government for the many programs that have been put in place to empower them to fight poverty. They cited the Youth Livelihood Program, Operation Wealth Creation Programme as some of the arrangements that have positively impacted the youth. They, however, appealed for increased funding for youth programmes adding that though many of them have been trained in several income generating activities, lack of capital limits them their ability to effectively engage in poverty eradication programs.
Earlier, President Museveni commissioned a new 16-KW power line in Kambugu Town Council in Kiboga East constituency. The Shs.1.5 billion line constructed by UMEME, will supply electricity from Kiboga Town to the towns of Kibiga, Kagyere, Kirurumba, Katoma, Kalyango and Kambugu. He reiterated his government commitment to extend power to all parts of Uganda but appealed to the population to make good use of the electricity resource and work to better their earning capacity.