What you need to know:
- The Karamoja sub-region has been in the spotlight for a while now over the iron sheets saga that has led to the arrest of three ministers so far
The Minister of Relief Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Mr Hilary Onek has hung his boots on finding lasting solutions to issues surrounding Karamoja and asked the public to advise on new approaches.
“How can we solve the problem of Karamoja. We are trying to solve it, but we haven’t yet found a solution. If you have any different approach, maybe you can tell us,” said Mr Onek while addressing the Press at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala on Tuesday.
He said the government is over-stressed by so many demanding priorities that the national budget cannot cater for, something he attributed to tax evasion.
“We are overstressed as a government because there are too many demanding priorities and the budget is based on our tax collection here, which is inadequate. Most of you are dodging paying taxes, so now, how do we manage these problems around,” Mr Onek said.
He added that the government's attempts to find lasting solutions to issues affecting Karamoja have been frustrated by tax evaders and corrupt government officials who steal the already collected taxes.
“Even the taxes paid, some people are stealing them. Some of you know them,” he said.
Mr Onek expressed dislike in taking donations and aid but said the mismanagement of taxes makes the aid and donations irresistible.
“So when friendly countries like Japan say we shall donate something for Karamoja, I'm ashamed but it is our failure to raise enough money to cater for our own problems. We are not raising enough money because people are dodging taxes and so forth,” he said.
Mr Onek revealed that the government of Japan has committed 7.9 million US dollars ( approximately Shs29.5 billion) to support refugees and host communities, as well as Karamoja Sub-region in various ways.
This aid is meant to support these communities for a year and will according to the Ambassador of Japan to Uganda H.E Fukuzawa Hidemoto focus on “mitigating the impacts of food insecurity and nutrition, gender equality including protection of women from sexual and gender-based violence to the vulnerable population.”
The Karamoja sub-region has been in the spotlight for a while now over the iron sheets saga that has led to the arrest of three ministers so far.
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions is still processing many other files on the same.