The Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has officially launched the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) Programme.

DINU is a government of Uganda programme supported by the European Union to the tune of 150 million Euros (shs 665bn). It is a multi- sectoral programme under the Office of the Prime Minister and will be implemented in 33 districts of the 5 sub-regions of Acholi, Karamoja, Lango, Teso and West Nile for a period of 6 years.

PM Rugunda in a group photo with EU Ambassador Attilio Pacifici, 1st DPM, Moses Ali, 2nd DPM,Kivejinja, ministers, diplomats ,MPs and LG officials who attended the launch of DINU programme at OPM on Friday(PMPU

DINU supports interventions in three specific interlinked sectors namely; Food security, Nutrition and livelihoods; Infrastructures (transport, logistics, water and energy) and Good governance.

The Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda said DINU program focuses on elements critical for the development of the country which will help to elevate Northern Uganda, a region that has suffered periods of prolonged conflict and insecurity leading to socio-economic losses and population displacement.

“In our strategy to achieve middle income status, issues of food security are pertinent. A country should be in position to feed itself. With Uganda being an agricultural country, support in this endeavor will even lead to surplus food supplies for sale hence boosting people’s incomes,” Rugunda said.

He added that improved transport infrastructure eases access to markets, whereas good governance is key for ensuring transparency, accountability and delivering value for money.

Dr. Rugunda also noted that Northern Uganda has high agriculture potential, although the sector’s contribution to poverty reduction and improved nutrition is still low due to notably, poor nutrition knowledge, malfunctioning value chains, poor transport infrastructure and low capacities of local governments to respond to local needs and quality service delivery which DINU should address.

“DINU should address these bottlenecks so that the people of Northern Uganda are able to produce in large quantities and participate in the export of produce to nearby countries as a way of boosting their incomes. Government is committed to providing security to enhance people’s free participation in income generating programmes as a way of addressing the poverty concerns in the country particularly in Northern Uganda,” Rugunda said.

Rugunda commended the European Union for consolidating Government’s efforts in supporting Northern Uganda to achieve the equal social economic development status as other regions.

He however cautioned all those involved in undertaking the project to be cognizant of the potential conflict issues that may arise during the process such as; land rights, youth unemployment and access to water which are still threatening the consolidation of the post-conflict recovery.

“Potential threats need to be addressed. The Government of Uganda through various programs is also trying to address youth issues such as equipping the youth with skills and supporting the youth through revolving funds among others. DINU should complement government in this regard,” the Premier said.

The European Union Ambassador, His Excellency Attilio Pacific thanked all the stakeholders involved in implementing the project for their support and collaboration.

He said Northern Uganda is still faced with issues of huge influx of refugees, boarder insecurity and high population rates, which make it lag behind and thus efforts are being taken to address these issues.

“European Union is determined to invest in Northern Uganda to ensure that there is long lasting peace, stability and development of the region. We are determined to promote agriculture through agro-business and value addition to contribute to development in Northern Uganda,” Attilio said.

He said DINU will use a multi-sectoral approach, which is an integrated sectoral approach to achieve better and more inclusiveness since it ensures engagement of all stakeholders involved in the project.

The Minister of state for Northern Uganda, Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny thanked European Union for supporting Northern Uganda, noting that it is a unique region which deserves special consideration.

She also noted that the government is committed to bridge the gap between Northern Uganda and other regions through enhancing agriculture, social infrastructure, food security, employment, marketing and trade, tourism, irrigation schemes as well as ensuring that the region embraces technology.

Kwiyucwiny was optimistic that DINU will address the expectations of both the donors and the people Northern Uganda since it will also focus on issues concerning security, good governance and gender based violence among others.

She also called upon all stakeholders involved in the implementation of the project to focus on key values of ownership, value for money, transparency and accountability which are crucial for the success of the project.

The launch was also attended by the 1st Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Moses Ali, 2nd Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Kirunda Kivejinja, the Minister of state for Karamoja Affairs, Moses Kizige, Ambassadors, Members of Parliament, Local Government officials and donors among others

ENDS

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

BY DOREEN NASASIRA