By Simon Peter Tumwine
The state minister for northern Uganda, Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny, has delivered maize milling machines and rice hullers to veterans.
The machines that the minister delivered were a presidential pledge under the post-war recovery programme, which is aimed at adding value to agricultural products.
While handing over the machines to Kikosi Maalum army veterans, Kwiyucwiny said Government was planning to donate more machines to different groups in northern Uganda Value addition “Lets us focus on adding value to our agricultural products. You are among the first group to receive these machines, but more is yet to come,” she said.
Kwiyucwiny said apart from the milling machines and rice hullers, the Government will distribute high-quality breeds of goats, cows, pigs and poultry to those that will opt for animal rearing as a project.
She also appealed to the veterans to invest in other ventures other than waiting for compensation from the Government “You cannot keep on waiting for compensation from Government yet you have other responsibilities to take care of.
It is better to invest in other productive ventures that can earn you more money to that the Government gives you,” Kwiyucwiny said.
She wondered why a sizeable number of people in northern Uganda were still poor yet Government had injected into the region lots of money through several interventions.
“If you look at the statistics from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, you will notice that poverty rates in northern Uganda have been increasing since 2017,” she noted.
According to a report released by UBOS in 2021, poverty levels in Acholi have increased from 33% to 68% between 2017 and 2020.
Poverty grew from 60% to 66% in Karamoja while that in Lango rose from 16% to 23% during the same period.
She said Government has been focusing on infrastructure such as road construction, schools and health centres in order to improve livelihoods in the region.
Alfred Okwonga, the Gulu city mayor, said the items the minister delivered would benefit over 700 residents.
Okwonga said the items include millers, hullers, corn grinding machine and a packing and binding machine.
“I don’t know the value of the donation, but we are grateful to Government,” Okwonga said.
At the same event, Samuel Nyeko, the acting district engineer, revealed that the Gulu district office local government received sh268m for the fourth quarter of 2021/2022 financial year, part of which was meant for the construction and renovation of Office of the Prime Minister in the region.
He, however, reported that there were major challenges that had slowed down the construction of the office, such as delayed payment of the workers at the construction site and the delivery of construction materials.
Nyeko appealed to Kwiyucwiny to follow up the matter with the responsible authorities, so that the construction is completed