Inside plan to turn Lira into a smart city
What you need to know:
- The programmes are expected to further support the attainment of the Lira City Council’s goal of increased household incomes, and improved quality of life of residents.
Lira District leaders have listed key priority programmes that they say if effectively implemented in the next financial year, will make Lira City a clean, green, smart and eco-friendly urban settlement.
The programmes are expected to further support the attainment of the Lira City Council’s goal of increased household incomes, and improved quality of life of residents.
But for this dream to come true, critics say leaders have to deal with the issues of low civic participation in city development, solid waste and trade order management, growing crime, unemployment and limited spaces for youth participation.
“The increasing conflicts among leaders [which are] deterring joint development initiatives, physical planning challenges, where development has gone ahead of planning, and land management challenges owing to transition issues with Lira District administration, among others, need to be addressed,” Dr Morris Chris Ongom, the president of Lira City Council Development Forum, said.
Mr Emmanuel Wamburu Soita, the Lira City town clerk, however, said there is no cause for alarm. For instance, he said, their proposed strategy for the 2023/2024 financial year seeks to restore the economy back to the medium-term trajectory of between 6 and 7 percent.
“To achieve this, priority will be directed towards interventions that will help us achieve the third National Development Plan (NDPIII) objectives, and commitments in the NRM Manifesto of 2021-2025,” he told stakeholders during the budget conference at Lira Main Council Hall on Tuesday.
Mr Wamburu said they have prioritised implementation of the Parish Development Model (PDM) and improvement of roads, schools and health infrastructure.
Under health, Village Health Teams (VHTs) will be strengthened through training and facilitation while critical staff such as anaesthetics, pharmacists, dispensers and operating theatre staff will be recruited.
“The health centre IVs will be renovated and equipped to provide comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care services,” the town clerk said.
He added that staff quarters will also be built in health centre IIIs and IVs as well as improving the availability and functionality of X-ray and laboratory services.
To manage food security, enterprise selection for the local farmers will be improved on top of enhancing support for pest and disease control. Partnerships will be made with investors and manufacturers to produce strategic commodities to meet national and international demands.
In order to make the city green, clean and eco-friendly, there shall be enforcement of the law on wetlands/swamps/conservation and restoration, boosting support for environmental land use planning and re-greening of the city for improved vegetation cover.
Leaders will lobby the National Water and Sewerage Corporation and Umeme to extend services to the annexed sub-counties in the city.
During the coming financial year, priority is also to complete the physical plan for the annexed areas.
Mr Sam Atul, the Lira City mayor, said they will encourage people in the rural part of the city to engage in commercial agriculture “but in a very technical manner that they can benefit from the limited space we have”.
“Every other time this city will be described as a growing city, the economy is robust, but the question we should ask as leaders is: are our people part of that benefit?” he said.
Mr Atul added: “And that’s why it’s key that we should struggle to have increased household incomes so that the lives of the local people in this city can change. Otherwise, we shall be building beautiful white castles in this city but not enjoyed by the people of this city.”
Mr George Okello Ayo, the mayor of Lira City East Division, said: “We request that the Financial Year 2023/2024 budget focuses on road maintenance. Some little money should be allocated towards the repair of broken boreholes, especially in peri-urban areas that were recently annexed to the city.”
Mr Sam Obote, the head teacher of Nantle Primary School, said: “We have outstanding teachers at different levels in this city but sometimes they are not being recognised. There is no clear platform to recognise the contribution of these outstanding teachers. So, I would suggest that our city can look into this and ensure that something is done.”
Mr Chris Hirotot, the city principal health inspector, said the city health and vaccine store will be restructured.
“The other items we have include painting and tiling of the city health office and procurement of adjustable delivery beds for persons with disabilities. We expect to buy six beds at a tune of Shs18 million and that is to cater for under primary health care development,” he said.
“We also want to construct a modern city mortuary. We also have a rollover of construction of the maternity ward, an operating theatre and an incinerator at Ober Health Centre IV. There will be rollover of the construction of Anyangatir Health Centre III,” Mr Hirotot added.
However, Ms Sarah Awor Angweri, the Lira City female workers’ representative, said the inadequate resource envelope always affects the implementation of planned activities. “I don’t know where the gap is, but most of our planned activities are dying,” she said.
The principal city community development officer, Mr Tom Richard Okello, said: “We shall promote positive cultural practices in the city, awareness raising, advocacy, dialogue, and community empowerment on human rights and protection, and support to youth, women and older persons.”
Mr Enoch Wandera Wakwalu, the deputy Resident City Commissioner, said: “So, being the economic hub of Lango Sub-region, being the sitting room of all this area, you would expect Lira City still to be the convenient area to do anything. So, even criminals of whatever level be it pickpocketing, thugs on the street or boda boda thieves, you would expect them to come to the city.”
Under education, the city council will construct seed secondary schools and renovate infrastructures in the existing ones. Also, the Education Management Information System (EMIS) will be implemented to track pupils and students’ enrolment, dropout, and retention and uniquely identify learners, teachers and institutions.