KAMPALA – The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, has pledged Parliament’s commitment to engage the Ministry of Lands to degazette Gulu forest land, and enable institutions commence infrastructure development for the benefit of the community.
In a meeting with officials from Gulu University led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. George Openjuru, on Thursday 24, 2019, Oulanyah observed that most forest reserves were situated in urban areas where there are more settlements than trees.
“The land that is in areas where there are no settlements would be of more use to establish a forest than where they cannot plant any more trees. The delay has not been because Parliament has been slow on this matter but the minister has not been keen on settling the matter,” Oulanyah said.
He added that on resumption of House sittings, the Minister of Lands would be called to explain the progress of degazetting the land on which the medical facility of the University sits, owing to the fact that the institution had already offered alternative land for reforestation.
During the meeting, Gulu Municipality MP, Hon. Lyandro Komakech, said the university officials sought support from Parliament to lobby Government to increase funding to the University, to allow institutional growth through building infrastructure and increasing human resource.
“Ever since Gulu University was founded by Government, it had no seed capital to grow organically. Teaching began with infrastructure meant for Gulu Farm Institute,” said Hon. Komakech.
Prof. Openjuru said that the current wage and non-wage budget for the University was at shs48.9 billion, which had overtime proved insufficient for institutional development due to the ever-growing student numbers.
He also reiterated the need to degazette the forest land to allow the University ably plan for infrastructural development.
“We got 70 acres on which the institution buildings are located, and until this land is degazetted, we cannot get our own land title and do comprehensive planning. If the land is availed, we can do a masterplan and develop the University comfortably,” said Prof. Openjuru
Oulanyah tasked the University management to prepare a well-documented request to the Finance Ministry for phased funding towards the institution to easily enable Government provide the much-needed support.