Last Updated on: 17th August 2023, 10:48 pm
Lira I Expected by her supporters and sympathizers outside Lira City to retain her Lira City Woman MP seat in the 2026 general elections, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng’s team says she is currently well focused on implementing what she pledged in 2021 during campaigns.
Dr Aceng who is also the Health Minister is the first elected Woman MP after the creation of Lira City in 2021. In the last election, she obtained 34,054 votes and Joy Atim Ongom – formerly representing Lira district women of UPC party flag received 19,088 votes.
Akullo Eunice Anna of the FDC party came last with 310 votes only.
On August 13, TND News focused on part one of the manifesto. Looking into part two, read about her promises and what she has achieved.
On Security in Lira City, the then MP hopeful, Dr Aceng talked about street lighting, electronic surveillance systems (CCTV cameras), and improved neighbourhood policy as her top priority. “No one can be economically productive without security,” she said.
Beautification of the City
“It will take the whole community of Lira City to make it beautiful and pleasurable to live in and visit. I will work alongside Lira City’s planners and communities, using my experience and exposure to beautification projects elsewhere to brighten up the face of Lira City by planting and preserving grass, flowers and trees, and by encouraging and incentivizing property owners to paint and renovate their buildings,” she said in her documented manifesto.
“Placemaking is another innovation that can bring the community together to identify a place or places of historical, cultural or spiritual significance. Such spaces become a tourist attraction and a place for commerce. The concept can pick up from a number of initiatives that have since stalled. I will work with the district authorities, cultural foundation and religious institutions to identify such sites.”
Industry, trade and tourism
“We are an agrarian economy and our industrialization efforts are closely tied to agriculture. We will support farmers to produce large quantities of raw materials that can supply cottage and medium-scale industries. Large-scale production for bigger international markets will be encouraged for the big landowners to increase foreign exchange earnings.”
To make it achievable, she noted that there is a need to fast-track the industrialization of Lira City as a prerequisite for holistic development. “My responsibility will be to support businessmen, industrialists, and manufacturers to develop the production capacity of their factories for greater output at less input costs.”
Also read: Why Lango was chosen to host week-long surgical camps in September
Together with the Lira Chamber of Commerce, the National Chamber of Commerce, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry we can fast-track the industrialization of Lira by doing the following:
(i) Negotiating economic stimuli for industries and factories. Such can include tax incentives and favourable investment policies.
(ii) Encouraging co-investments and co-partnership between Lira businessmen and international investors.
(iii) Improving the scope and quality of trade fairs in Lira; staging world-class trade shows, demonstrations, and exhibitions in Lira by inviting international manufacturers and entrepreneurs to showcase their entrepreneurial skills in Lira.
(IV) Introducing e-commerce, electronic transactions so that businessmen and consumers are protected from the risks and hazards associated with cash transactions.
Creation of employment opportunities, the establishment of a big factory in Lira comparable to the Sugar factory in Amuru and the fruit factories in Soroti and Yumbe
According to the Minister and MP, the people of Lango are hardworking people who deserve a big factory that employs 5000 people and beyond, in addition to the cottage industries that currently exist.
Right now, industrial sugar is in high demand globally and the number one raw material for it is cassava, she said.
“The people of Lira produce a lot of cassava, but unfortunately only for consumption and brewing of lira-lira. This cannot fetch us the much money we need to send our children to universities or make good investments.
“Lango can strategize on industrial sugar production because it has a comparative advantage over other regions. We can mobilize farmers to produce cassava in very large qualities to provide the raw material for the starch factory. In any case, this factory used to exist in Lira City in a village currently known as Starch Factory near Cuk Olok market. Sanitisers can also be made out of cassava.”
On offering support to cooperative societies, she said a number of farmers and produce sellers have formed cooperative societies. These societies, she acknowledged need to be supported to grow, through grants, transport facilities, record keeping, value addition, traceability and readily available markets. “I will work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Industry and Ministry of Trade to lobby for support to these cooperatives.
“Lobby the Ministry of Works and Transport to consider the introduction of face technology in Lira City to reduce the costs incurred and time lost in seeking such services.”
Tourism and hotel industry
Lira is a transit route for many important tourism destinations in Northern Uganda. Many attempts have been made by private entrepreneurs to develop the tourism industry in Lira.
Describing these entrepreneurs’ efforts as “commendable”, she said the efforts provide an opportunity for her to use her connections working with the Ministry of Tourism to attract both international and national organizations keen on building the tourism industry to partner with the City, and with local entrepreneurs to make Lira a tourist haven, and an opportunity for more jobs for men and women from the sub-region
Lira in the past had a concentration of prominent secondary schools, including Dr Obote College, Boroboro, Comboni College, Lango College, and Town College. The town also boasted important tertiary institutions of learning including Lira Technical College, Canon Lawrence and Ngetta PTC. These schools are no longer ranked among Uganda’s prominent schools. There are a number of private primary schools, whose pupils have performed well.
The public schools due to lack of primary. There are very few schools in the city that can offer a high standard of quality teaching. Their capacity to admit students is also limited. Many parents, therefore prefer to send their children to Kampala city to more attractive schools.
This drains financial resources from the city that would otherwise have been used to further develop the city. In addition, the teachers are poorly remunerated and hence not well motivated to teach to the required standards. Private school teachers are further disadvantaged by unregulated remuneration.
(i) Lobby and follow up Government to conclude its pledge of a secondary school in every sub-county and a primary school in every village
(ii) Work with Partners and the private sector to support scholarships and bursaries for bright but disadvantaged pupils and students
(iii) Support Exchange programs with other Universities nationally and internationally.
(iv) Encourage Girl Child Education by working with the private sector to produce reusable sanitary pads.
(v) Lobby the Ministry of Education to improve learning infrastructure like computers and laboratories for science students.
(vi) Work with the City Education Authorities to focus on the development of other talents outside the classroom like sports, music etc.
(vii) Lobby Government to provide soft loans for teachers, more so the private school teachers so they can have other income-generating activities to support their families.
(viii) Develop programs to reward best-performing students annually to encourage others to perform better too.
(ix) Lobby for Special Needs schools for persons with disability.
Support the establishment of Open and Distance Learning infrastructures (ODEL), now being advocated by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health.
(x) Lobby the Ministry of Education to gradually improve the state and standard of our schools to compete with Kampala schools
At Lira University, she promised to support and develops a University that can compete favourably with universities in other parts of the world.
“I will lobby for the expansion and equipping of the College of Health Sciences. The University Teaching Hospital currently has a capacity of only about 200 beds. This could be expanded to 500 beds to accommodate the introduction of other specialities for a more comprehensive and robust training of medical students.
“The niche for Lira University’s Faculty of Health Sciences is research and training. As a Member of Parliament, I will work together with University authorities to build this capacity by procuring more training facilities and equipment.
“We shall encourage more visiting researchers and fellows from other universities to form collaborations with Lira University staff to enable the University to grow faster. As a Minister and Member of Parliament, I will support all efforts locally, nationally, and internationally that support Lira University.
“I will work closely with the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and the deans of the various faculties to make sure the standard of the university is uplifted. We will encourage more student enrollment in the university. I will liaise with the Ministry of Education and the National Council for Higher Education to make sure that more programs are opened to give more access and opportunity for admission to more students from Lango sub-region.”
The government needs to revisit the state of private schools in the country. Private schools have been worst hit by Covid-19. Almost all teachers of private schools are not being paid currently. The government needs to provide economic stimulus to private schools and find innovative ways to ease taxes paid by private schools.
“I seek to go beyond my current ex-officio status to a Member of Parliament with a voice of the people and to speak for the people. I believe that with my experience, exposure and working together with the population of Lira City and the government, we can ably transform our city into the city that we all desire.
“A new city needs a new leader with new skills. I am that leader who has been tried, tested and found able,” Dr Aceng Ocero said while seeking the mandate of the people of Lira City and would later be elected.
Some of the achievements
In her second year as MP, she drilled eleven boreholes in partnership with MMP Raja Foundation or Nile Agro Industries Ltd. The boreholes have since addressed the water crisis which was quite prevalent years back.
Dr Aceng has also handed over an ambulance, Reg. No. UG 7290 to Lira Regional Referral Hospital where she worked before. With her mobilization expertise and exposure, the ambulance was given by the government to support emergency medical services in Lira City.
Her Lira City political office says the ambulance services are 24/7 – responding to medical and trauma-related emergencies.
On July 10, 2022, she launched the re-connection of water supply to Lira’s main market. The disconnection had existed for nearly a decade.
Records from her office further show that she also commissioned the groundbreaking and handed over the contract documents for the construction of Punuluru Health Centre III to Build Mask Company.
The health facility serves the people of Punuluru Cell, Anai Ward in Lira City West – the majority of whom suffered for a long time since there was no nearby health facility.
Additional achievements follow.