Ugandan Parliament approves $50 m loan to impoverish northern region

OTHER POVERTY STRIKEN REGIONS NEED SIMILAR HELP: Kilak MP, Gilbert Olanya

OTHER POVERTY STRIKEN REGIONS NEED SIMILAR HELP: Kilak MP, Gilbert Olanya

Eight districts in Northern Uganda are set to benefit from a direct agricultural project by government aimed at reducing vulnerability of poor rural households.

The beneficiary districts are Agago, Amuru, Pader, Adjumani, Gulu, Lamwo, Kitgum and Nwoya. At least 300,000 households are expected to benefit from the program codenamed Restoration of Livelihoods in Northern Uganda.   On Wednesday this week the Ugandan parliament approved the request from government to borrow $50m (150 billion Shillings) from the International Fund for Agricultural Development to finance the project.

A report by the committee on National Economy, presented by the chairman Xavier Kyooma says the programme is expected to target food insecure households, which do not have enough land or resources to produce enough food to cover their needs. “The programme will also target food secure households that want to improve their agricultural productivity,” he said.

The report however recommends that the project is extended to all districts in the region like the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) and PRDP. Several legislators from Northern Uganda have welcomed the programme noting that the poverty levels in the region continue to rise.

Kilak County MP, Gilbert Olanya says there should be strict monitoring to ensure that the project meets its objectives. “If you look at the project like PRDP, when it was taken to Northern Uganda , we were very happy and we thought the region was going to rejuvenate from the suffering as a result of the LRA insurgency, but PRDP turned to be more problematic, most funds were swindled,” Olanya said adding “you find that less than 20% of the funds that were poured in PRDP were used in northern Uganda and 80% was brought back to the centre, therefore we are happy for the loan, but it should be put to proper use.”

Geoffrey Ekanya, Tororo County MP wants government to extend the project to other regions noting that areas like Busoga are still stuck in abject poverty. The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Local Government over a period of seven years.