West Nile residents have been urged by President Yoweri Museveni to quit being spectators and participate in the money economy in order to eradicate poverty and build prosperity.
On Wednesday, he addressed a gathering on wealth development in the West Nile region and made the call.
The President said that he has been attempting to convince Ugandans to rescue themselves from poverty since 1995 while on a tour on investment and wealth development in West Nile with the theme: “Securing your future through wealth creation and shared prosperity”.
“We began by sending you money through Entandiikwa, then we went to NAADS, and finally we got Gen Saleh involved with Operation Wealth Creation. Gen. Saleh has had some influence because, prior to him in 2013, just 32% of individuals were involved in the money economy, leaving the remaining 68% outside.
We referred to them as viewers. Even though the percentage of spectators has decreased and is currently 39% out of 100, it is still too high. When others are actively producing money, why should you just watch? he pondered.
“We don’t want spectators in the economy, but we want them in sports.”
In addition, President Museveni asked the people of West Nile to adopt the Parish Development Model (PDM) and highlighted the rationale behind the government’s decision to create such a program.
“Gen. Saleh had done some work, but we started hearing complaints that the soldiers were just sharing with their friends and family or charging too much for inferior seeds. Therefore, we suggested that you come in yourselves instead than letting government employees buy and distribute seedlings as they saw fit through initiatives like Entandiikwa, NAADS, and Operation Wealth Creation from a distance, he stated.
“For that reason, we argued against changing. We advised letting each parish’s wealth creators organize and choose their own leaders before we sent them any money so they could purchase the necessary inputs on their own.
The President also warned the PDM SACCO leaders not to put pressure on the recipients of the loaned funds to repay them within a year. After 24 months, he explained, they can begin making repayments.
Because they are borrowing money mostly for agriculture, they are not required to repay it in a single year. Crops aren’t usually ready in a single year when you borrow money for agriculture. If the purchase is something like coffee, it will take longer than 18 months, so there is no harm if the borrower begins making payments after 24 months and is not required to make all of them at once.
I have no issue with him beginning to pay after 24 months and finishing after 48 months with a very low interest rate. He underlined that he makes repayments to your parish SACCO rather than the government.
Additionally, President Museveni reminded the residents of West Nile that the PDM funds are allocated to strategic projects and are intended to lift 39% of Ugandans out of poverty through strategic commercial agriculture.
“Our funds are not being used to bury or cultivate marikwang. Our job is to assist our employees in starting businesses that are relevant on a national, regional, and international scale. As soon as my family starts cultivating coffee, they become a part of the global economy. Once our families become dependent on that, they will always be making money. We want to financially protect our future, he remarked.
“If we find that the program is succeeding, I may persuade the MPs to add funds so that, rather than using Sh100 million, we use Sh200 million. PDM is also a possibility in the city. You don’t have a place to farm, therefore your duty is to market the goods that others have created. As a result, the villagers produce, which you may sell or, if you’re more organized, process.
In order to make the most out of the PDM money, the President also suggested that the communities adopt the 4-acre model.
Another error is the one of dividing up land when the family head passes away. This indicates that the family farm is getting smaller and smaller with each passing generation. Because some areas of the nation no longer allow one acre per household, we will have land with disabilities. They have what they refer to as “Ndunde” (a quarter of an acre) in some areas of Ankole.
Those folks are no longer able to cultivate their own food. You now own land that cannot be used to raise food for the family or generate income for the family. However, all of this occurred because, despite our repeated warnings over the past 30 years, they chose not to pay attention, according to Gen. Museveni.
“That’s why at the time we said the 4 acre model; one acre you put coffee, the second acre you put fruits especially mangos, oranges or pineapples, the third acre you put pasture for zero-grazing cows for milk, the fourth acre you put food crops, and in the backyard you do poultry keeping for eggs and if you are not a Muslim you can also have pigs in the backyard but number seven, if you are near the river you can have fish farming.”
Locals in Arua spoke to the President during an interactive session about the high levels of corruption among government officials there. They cited Arua Central Market management for questionably removing their stalls, leaving them with nowhere to operate from.
The President gave them his word that he would take severe action against the dishonest officials.
“We will put an end to every corrupt person in Uganda. The corrupt are playing with fire; we will put them down, he said.
Eleven persons from the districts of Koboko and Maracha received customary land titles from President Museveni at the same event. Additionally, he offered Shs120 million in financial help to West Nile musicians so they could open recording studios.
The President was praised for commencing the process of transforming Uganda by promoting the wealth creation gospel throughout the nation by Ora County Member of Parliament, Hon. Lawrence Biyika Songa.
Hon. Songa promised Gen. Museveni, “The people of West Nile are with you.”