Leaders from Busoga region across all parties, yesterday met to find solutions for the stinging chronic poverty tearing through the region.
The meeting attended by mostly former members of parliament, legislators, ministers, seasoned politicians and technocrats in Busoga was to share ideas on what the region can do to lift self from poverty.
The meeting was chaired by the speaker of parliament, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, who was among the speakers together with; Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party Vice President for Eastern Region, Salaamu Musumba and National Resistance Movement (NRM) party Secretary General Kasule Lumumba.
According to Musumba, the game changer for Busoga would be remodelling the education system for the 21st century if Busoga is to develop.
Lumumba accused the the Ministry of Finance of hiding information from implementers in Busoga region.
“The Ministry of Finance does research annually, but instead of giving the report to local leaders, they go back with it to Kampala. District leaders have no information, implementers don’t have this information, how will they help?” she said.
Lumunba alleged that the biggest gold deposits and minerals used to make phones are in Busoga region, but certain elements holding mining licences are misusing the opportunity and in the end condemning Busoga to poverty.
“We have raw materials for making phones in Bugweri district, but certain speculators instead of real investors are the ones holding mining licenses and failing Busoga.”
Former Lands Minbister Daudi Migereko urged leaders to mobilise rich Basoga to construct industries in the region.
“Some one who can build a six bedroomed house can build an industry here, and someone capable of buying a Shs100m vehicle is capable of building a company to employ some people here. That is how we can come out of poverty,’ Migereko said.
The speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga accused government of discriminating Busoga region from the skills development project.
“Have u ever seen the Skills Development Project in Busoga? It is in Kampala and Wakiso. When I asked the President last financial year why the project is not in Busoga, he said it will come to Jinja and Mbale in future,” Kadaga said.
Last year, the state minister for Transport, Aggrey Bagire attributed the biting pverty in Busoga region to general laziness.
Bagiire decried the increasing poverty in Busoga communities which he said has affected the education and health of the people.
“Although there is free education in both primary and secondary schools, parents in Busoga can’t afford to support their children to complete school,” Bagiire said.
He added that many children drop out of school and later become burdens to their parents and communities where they live.
Bagiire urged Busoga region to actively participate in commercial agriculture in order to boost their economy. He also advised Busoga region to resume growing coffee on a large scale as it was in the past.
“Busoga, Buganda and Bugisu regions gained glory in coffee growing, but this faded due to laziness,” Bagiire said.
A report by Uganda Bureau of Statistic (UBOS) in 2017 ranked Busoga as least developed region. Busoga region is followed by Bukedi region.
The report says more people in the east are plagued by absolute poverty. The report titled; Uganda National Household Survey 2016/2017, released on September 27, found that the number of poor people in rural areas has increased to 10 million.