Opinions

PRIORITIZE GREEN ECONOMY SECTORS TO BOOST ECONOMY

By Guest Writer

According to the Uganda Green Growth Development strategy (UGGDS), Uganda identified agriculture, tourism, renewable energy and sustainable forestry among others as the most viable and priority sectors for promoting green growth.

However the 2022/23 budget allocated a lion’s share to these sectors and this shows government’s low commitment to strengthen the sectors and to realize jobs and economic development in these green sectors.

It should be noted that these sectors a drivers of the economy employing highest percentage of population compared to other sectors .For example the financial year 2022/23 allocated only UGX 194.7 billion to tourism constituting to only 0.6% of the budget and agriculture was given only 4.5% of the total budget.

As of now, a lot of environmental destruction is taking place countrywide and people are seriously encroaching on wetlands to establish business enterprises.

During 2022/23budget reading this month the president of Uganda directed all wetland encroachers to vacate immediately and alerted the authorities to act, this was a motivation to me as environmental defender and I hope the process doesn’t discriminate the rich and poor.

The parish development model where each parish is to get 100m would be a good green economic program but a lot is still needed to streamline the system. More of the money should be put in parish investments as a whole rather than   giving liquid cash to individuals for example the 100m can be used to buy solar powered irrigation system that can supply the whole parish instead of giving small amounts of money to groups.

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To me this can work since every village would have access to connect pipes from the system to their gardens, such green economic programs should be well streamlined to hit the set target.

When we talk of tourism, this sector should be prioritized and looked at as key to boost the economy but unfortunately people have encroached on these areas leaving wildlife in suffering. For example the ongoing destruction of Bugoma Forest by Hoima sugar factory has resulted into death of wildlife for example the elephant that was found dead in the forest and other wildlife, some wildlife have now encroached on community gardens and destroyed their crops and this is a result of encroaching on their ecosystem.

The oil activities also have destroyed the green economy and all these are contributing to loss of green economy in the country. For example in Albertine region where oil activities are taking place a lot of destruction is taking place even before the first oil hits the market.

Since the discovery of oil in 2006 tourism sector has been characterized by serious social economic impacts that range from land grabbing ,displacement of people ,death of wildlife ,militarization and growth of poverty to gender impacts and there is already growing instability in process of land acquisition process for oil refinery ,kabaale airport ,Tilenga oil projects, and EACOP.

Oil production activities have worsened the situation day by day   in the surrounding community’s .As a country we need to transit from fossil fuels to invest in green economic alterative to save the country from climate changes experienced today.

To my opinion tourism and agriculture if prioritized, the level of unemployment will be reduced at all levels. More sensitization needs to be done on value of these green sectors and more attention should be given to these sectors if we are to maximally utilize them.

Finally all these can’t be achieved with this increased electricity bills in the country, farmers are making huge postharvest losses and farming is done basing on nature “rains”, therefore more investment should be put on solar power that is sustainable and cheap for all people.

Farmers should be given solar powered driers and irrigation equipment’s to keep production through the year.

The author is Gerald Barekye {geraldbarekye@gmail.com} Research Associate at Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO)

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