The Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has said Uganda’s economy is largely dependent on environmental and natural resources.
Rugunda however noted that the actions required to meet the various targets under Vision 2040 and NDPII will put a lot of pressure on the existing water and environment resources.
“To meet Uganda’s 2040 economic growth targets, the current level of water delivery must be tripled, which will require substantive investment in environmental and water management,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister made the remarks at the launch of the Water Resource Institute at the Ministry of Water and Environment in Entebbe on Wednesday.
The Water Resource Institute will provide cutting edged applied research and training, deliver continuous professional skills development across all levels in water resources management and development.
The institute will also serve as a neutral place for dialogue and outreach, as well as profile the central position of water resources in national development with a vison of ensuring that Uganda’s water resources are utilized optimally.
The Prime Minister said the Institute will be able to address water and environment related issues such as pollution, climate variability and reduction in water availability as well as balance water needs for agriculture, energy, industry and households in the country in an integrated and coordinated manner.
“Discussion of water and environment issues need to get out of the cocoon of water and environment sectors and involve other stakeholders such as politicians, students, the private sector, development partners, academics, the media and the general public. This is because water affects us all,” Rugunda said.
He added that there is need to increase sharing of experiences, new concepts, innovations and practices in water and environment related issues.
The Premier also noted that the agriculture sector is still facing issues of low productivity and low profitability due to lack of access of water resources yet it is the backbone of the economy.
He said the government is working on increasing access to water for agricultural production especially for irrigation purpose which will also contribute to improving food security and household incomes.
He added that government is already in the final stages of adopting a national irrigation policy, and is committed to investing in water for irrigation infrastructure to boost commercial farming.
“Against growing threats of climate change and associated negative impacts to Ugandan economy, climate –resilient irrigation schemes are seen as the only way to provide reliable and sustainable water solution for Ugandan farmers,” the Premier said.
He said reliable water will contribute to enhanced agricultural productivity and improved food security which will in turn alleviate rural poverty levels, and also create local job opportunities for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
Dr. Rugunda called upon the leadership of Ministry of Water and Environment to ensure that the water resource Institute focuses on creating space for building relationships with key stakeholders and institutions to strengthen collaborations.
The Minister of state for Water, Ronald Kibuule said the Water Resource Institute was created out of the desire to retain knowledge and expertise of retired long serving professionals who have worked at the Ministry of Water and Environment.
“The institute will bring together our retired professionals to offer their service through generating and sharing knowledge of their expertise,” Kibuule said.
Kibuule said the Institute will be dependent on funds provided by government, Donors and non-government organizations among other bodies for sustainability.
The current financial requirements for the Water Resource Institute in the short term is 16.3 billion shillings, 18.4 billion shilling and 26.2 billion shillings in the short, medium and long term respectively.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
BY DOREEN NASASIRA