Infrastructure projects in Northern Uganda must match economic activities - Minister

One of the sites for business infrastructure facilities in Madi-Okolo. Photo | Courtesy 

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According to Northern Uganda State Minister Grace Kwiyuchwiny, there is need to scale up economic activities in northern Uganda and West Nile, without which such projects might fail to impact the high poverty indices in the two regions. 

Northern Uganda State Minister Grace Kwiyuchwiny has said infrastructure projects in the region must match economic activities if they are to benefit locals.  

Speaking during a ground-breaking ceremony for business infrastructure facilities in Madi-Okolo, funded by the World Bank, Ms Kwiyuchwiny said there is need to scale up economic activities in northern Uganda and West Nile, without which such projects might fail to impact the high poverty indices in the two regions. 

However, she also noted that it is important that people in the two regions actively participate in government programmes such as the Parish Development Model.

“We need to double our efforts to ensure that we utilise these new projects such as markets to sell products that have value addition. We should as a community, take full advantage of [programmes such as] the Parish Development Model to enhance our capacity in agro production and processing,” Ms Kwiyuchwiny said, before disclosing that government was also developing the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund IV, which will soon be launched to further affirmative economic impetus for the region. 

“My office [under the Office of the Prime Minister] is coming up with NUSAF IV. All these are efforts towards increasing financial resources to improve household incomes,” she added. 

The World Bank has been funding a number of infrastructure projects, among which include markets, recreational and resource centres in 11 refugee hosting districts estimated at about $30m. 

They are funded under the World Bank Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure (USMID-AF) implemented by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.

Mr Obiga Kania, the Urban Development state minister, said that Madi-Okolo, being one among the refugee hosting districts, is facing various challenges among which include lack of a proper road network and business facilities.

“Accessing some of these parts of West Nile, is really a challenge. The road network is not good at all yet there are modern facilities such as markets,” he said, adding that it is important that infrastructure in the region is improved. 

Madi-Okolo, he noted, has about Shs8b in contract value that seeks to develop market infrastructure. 

Mr Ronald Afidra the MP for Lower Madi-Okolo, said he will continue to monitor progress of the projects being constructed in Madi-Okolo, including compliance of the contractors to key aspects such as consideration of gender in recruitment of workers.

“Our people must benefit from these projects both directly and indirectly. This includes employment. We want some incomes to stay back with our people,” he said. 

Terego, Yumbe, Adjumani, Obongi, Moyo and Lamwo, are the others districts benefiting from the $30m World Bank financing for infrastructure development such as markets, resource centres and youth related facilities. 

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