Pallisa – A section of residents of Bukedi region have tasked the government to prioritise employment to elevate the incomes, rapping authorities forcing them out of rice-growing.
Bukedi sub-region is located in the eastern part of Uganda, the area includes Tororo, Busia, Budaka, Kibuku, Butaleja and Pallisa.
Speaking to our reporter, Emron Peter, one of the residents, revealed that as much as there is good infrastructure, many youths continue to linger in abject poverty.
“We, the youths, have no jobs. We ask the government to foster set-up of factories such that we get some jobs and earn something,” said Emron who described himself as born and raised in Pallisa.
“Pallisa has no major factory or investment that can employ us (youths) to provide for our families and develop our area,” said Emron.
The youths also called for the fast-tracking of Emyooga Initiative to able access to financing to support their small income-generating project.
Unemployment Rate in Uganda averaged 2.32 percent from 1991 until 2019, reaching an all-time high of 3.50 percent in 2002 and a record low of 0.94 percent in 1991.
According to the finance ministry, the total budget for the Presidential Initiative on Wealth and Job Creation (Emyooga) is sh260b. So far, sh150b has been released. The initiative has generated excitement around the country, but many people – Bukedi, do not know the criteria of accessing the money.
Leaders also tasked the NRM government to fulfil the pledge of financing schemes to onboard farmers that were previously growing rice in swamp areas.
Speaking to the press at Busitema University playground Kalaki, Kibuku County Member of Parliament, Hon. Herbert Kinobere emphasised the plight for rice farmers that we asked to vacate wetlands.
“Rice farmers were thrown-out of the wetlands and President Museveni pledged that schemes shall be financed to enable the affected farmers to identify other incomes streams. Fish farming was one of those activities suggested,” said Hon. Kinobere.
Subsequent to the COVID-19 pandemic that prompted a lockdown, many rice farmers were forced out and proceeded to defy the directive on not cultivating in the wetlands. They claim that they do not have enough land for the activity except for the available wetland.
Authorities – led by NEMA, have since cracked a whip on farmers cultivating in the wetland leaving them in disarray.
The farmers who declined to reveal their identities asserted that they needed to help their families and to donate some to the government to be distributed to other starving Ugandans.
Hon. Kinobere revealed that Limoto and Natoto wetlands were the most affected with NEMA asserting that the farmers were destroying the environment.
Limoto wetland is shared by Kibuku and Pallisa districts in the North Bukedi region and it is one of the wetlands which is seasonally saturated with water.
It stretches to the five sub-counties of Kasasira, Kadama, Kibuku, Buseta, and Kabweri.
President Museveni, on the 19th of December 2019, toured and commissioned the Limoto wetland Wise-use demonstration site in Puti Puti sub-county Pallisa district.
Museveni later while addressing a mammoth rally at Kalaki primary school ground in Pallisa town council Pallisa district, was happy to note that 70 hectares of land that had been previously degraded mainly by human activity had been restored.
He said people can earn UGX120M from one acre of land unlike the 700,000 they would earn from rice growing.
Mr. Museveni then directed farmers and locals who had invaded the wetland to vacate saying the government will introduce other sustainable livelihood projects for the affected farmers to boost their income.
Hon. Kinobere and other locals of Bukedi made their remarks ahead of the arrival of National Resistance Movement (NRM) presidential candidate Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni in Pallisa (Monday) after kicking off the campaign trail in the subregion on Saturday in Tororo.
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On Saturday, President Museveni commissioned the UGX27.7Bn Tororo Central Market before meeting NRM Party leaders and youths as he continues ‘scientific’ campaigns across the country.