Monday January 6 2014

Lira: The principal trade centre of Lango sub-region

By Bill Oketch


Lira is one of the districts that form Lango sub-region with a total land area of 1,326 square kilometres. Lira District is bordered by Pader to the north, Otuke to northeast, Alebtong District to the east and Dokolo to the west.

The coordinates of the district are: 02 20N, 33 06E (Latitude 02.3333; Longitude:33.1000). According to the National census of 2002, Lira has a population of 1.5 million people. The district was named Lira, because where the administrative headquarter is located was majorly inhabited by the Lira clan.

Lira District today consists of Erute North, Erute South and Lira Town Council counties. The district has 751 villages and 89 parishes. There are 13 sub-counties including four divisions of Lira Municipality. There are 110 primary schools and 20 secondary schools under the district administration. It also has 22 health centres and a regional referral hospital.

It is mainly collected from market dues, produce loading fees and rent on government property. 97 per cent of the district budget is funded by the central government leaving the district to fund the remaining three per cent.

Banks like Barclays Bank, Centenary Bank, Crane Bank, DFCU Bank, KCB, PostBank Uganda, Stanbic Bank, Pride Microfinance Limited and Housing Finance Bank are helping business communities in boosting their business.

Land ownership
Land disputes among the communities has remained a hindrance to development. Most of the land is communually owned and over the years, there has been a rise in land disputesMany activities have been halted, due to land wrangles in the district.

Economic activity
The major economic activity is farming. There is little commercial agriculture as many cannot afford mechanisation; most of the people are peasant farmers. The main food crop is millet and beans. Fruit and sun flower growing has been taken up by many farmers with government planning to set up a fruit factory in the area. Other activities are grain milling, wholesale, hotel and restaurant business, brick making, pottery, and tile manufacturing.

Motorcycles and bicycles are still the cheapest means of transport in the area. Many residents still prefer bicycles transport because it is cheap ranging from Shs 300- 10,000 depending on the distance.

Education & literacy levels
Girl child education is still a challenge, especially at primary level. From Primary Five to Primary Seven pupils drop out and many are being married off. Due to the high level of poverty in the region, girls are looked at as a source of income in the home when married off. More than 37.4 per cent of children aged 6-12 are not in primary school while 27.5 per cent of children aged 13-18 are not in secondary school.

The literacy level stands at 38.3 per cent only. The LRA insurgency affected education of many. However, with the relative peace, many youth are being trained in various skills.