For a while now, the government has prioritised road infrastructure and as a result of the huge construction expenditure, different parts of the country have realised faster economic growth.
In Bunyoro sub-region, however, the main road running through the sub-region of Kigumba-Kabwoya road which also links Tooro region to the northern highway, has appeared in several national Budgets but never done. As residents eagerly wait to see if this time is any different, the benefits cannot be underestimated.
Potential of Bunyoro region
The region has rich soils and like most parts of the country, the population is mainly engaged in agriculture. Although the key towns in the region like Masindi and Hoima are linked to the capital city with tarmacked roads, it is the Kigumba-Kabwoya road that would facilitate the swift transporting of agricultural produce from within the region to the main markets.
Presently, it costs more for farmers to access the towns because of the state of the road hence undermining the returns from agriculture.
With youth unemployment in the region higher than the national average, it’s important that agriculture is more attractive in this part of the country to curb the towncity migration of young people in search of work.
Other important sectors
Equally as important to the region’s economy is tourism. Apart from game parks and forests, Bunyoro has heritage sites of great interest not only to foreign visitors but to fellow nationals.
With this highway tarmacked, one would easily visit Tooro Kingdom and Bunyoro Kingdom sites in one week-end.
I am of the view that this would greatly boost domestic tourism which after all has the aantages of frequent visits conceivably within a short period of time and the fact that domestic tourism is not affected by external shocks like the recent economic slowdown in the Euro-zone.
It must be also noted that the lack of infrastructure like tarmacked roads will inflate the cost of doing business in an area thus, hindering investment in the region.
Here, I am not referring to foreign investors per say but small businesses by nationals like restaurants, resorts, value addition firms etc.
This is because small businesses cannot absorb huge costs and in our case have to be the engine of the economy if we are to address the high levels of unemployment. This is why I believe the government has got the budget priorities right (road infrastructure) and more so the case to construct the Kigumba-Kabwoya road this financial year.
Looking at the bigger picture in regard to the oil industry in the region, this road is as important as any in the country if not more important because we can’t wait until the oil is on line then start working on the road network in the Albertine region.
In my view, this should now be a priority because of its strategic importance in linking the rest of the country to the ‘oil city’ Hoima.
There is no doubt that the construction of this particular road will not only spur economic growth in Bunyoro sub-region, but contribute immensely to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to its strategic nature. It is my hope that work will begin this financial year.
The writer is a business and finance analyst.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor