MPs Task NFA to Name 135 Gov't Officials Implicated for Encroaching on Forest Reserves

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In short
The implicated officials are reportedly engaged in commercial tree planting in Central Forest Reserves without authorization from National Forestry Authority.

The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises has tasked the National Forestry Authority-NFA to present a list of 135 government officials accused of encroaching on forest reserves.
 
The implicated officials are reportedly engaged in commercial tree planting in Central Forest Reserves without authorization from National Forestry Authority. 



Michael Mugisa, the NFA executive director told legislators on the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises that they discovered the anomaly during the review of the private tree planting licenses.

 
He says they decided to undertake the review after NFA offered land to private tree farmers in line with section 2 (e) of the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act, which encourages public participation in management and conservation of forests and trees. 


 
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However, the MPs accused National Forestry Authority of ignoring big shots in government who break the law. John Ssimbwa, the Makindye East MP demanded that NFA be compelled to produce the list of the encroachers.
 
 
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Ibrahim Semujju Nganda, the chairperson of Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises blasted NFA for alleged failure to execute its mandate to protect forest reserves.
 

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Semujju directed that NFA avails the committee with the list of 135 government officials who encroached on forest reserves within one week.



In his audit report for the financial year ending 2013, the auditor general notes that despite the fact that, private tree farmers are supposed to pay annual ground rent, NFA has not issued any demand notes since the land was offered to private tree farmers in 2008.
 

The report further noted that NFA lacks clear internal block boundaries resulting into conflicts between tree farmers. He also faulted NFA for failing to review the licence fee every five years as provided for saying this has greatly affected NFA revenue collections.

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.