Parliament Halts Sand Excavation by Ten Companies Top story

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In short
In its earlier investigations, Parliaments Natural Resources Committee established that whereas wetland or lake permits had been issued to allow for fish farming, sites were instead being used for sand mining.

Parliament's Natural Resources committee stopped sand mining activities by ten more companies operating in the districts of Kalungu, Mpigi and Wakiso.

The companies whose activities have been halted include He Sha Duo Company Limited, Zhong Industries Limited, Mango Tree Group Limited and Lukaya Sand Dealers; all owned by Chinese Investors.

The others are Seroma Limited owned by Robert Ssekidde, Capital Estates owned by John Sebalamu, Sim Construction Limited owned by Movit proprietor Simpson Birungi, Tesco Industries, owned by Drake Lubega, Aka & Bino Fish Farming project- owned by Moses Twinomugisha, and another site in the names of Abomugisha Peter.

The companies were separately excavating sand from Lwera wetland, Katonga wetland system and parts of Lake Victoria.

The move comes just a day after the committee directed Aqua World Uganda Limited, a company belonging to Pastor Samuel Kakande of Synagogue Church of All Nations, to halt its sand mining activities in Kamalira Village, Nkozi Sub-county, Mpigi district.  The company was accused of mining sand illegally.

Natural Resources committee chairperson Alex Byarugaba Bakunda says that the committee's directive to the eleven companies is temporary pending the outcome of ongoing investigations into their activities.

Byarugaba adds that the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) will be required to review permits for the mining companies.
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Byarugaba says that his committee will conduct hearings with all companies involved in sand mining, visit sites on the eastern shores of Lake Victoria and scrutinize all evidence before it compiles a report for the House.

In its earlier investigations, the committee established that whereas wetland or lake permits had been issued to allow for fish farming, sites were being used for sand mining in the guise of fish farming.
"Companies that acquired sand mining permits, had failed to restore sand borrow pits as required by NEMA. The abandoned pits had since accumulated water, over grown vegetation and algae affecting water flow within the wetlands', said committee chairperson Alex Byarugaba.

He also noted that sand mining is not expected within 200 metres from the protected zone of the lake but a number of companies were doing otherwise.

Presently, sand mining in Uganda is lucrative and companies have invested heavily in dredging machinery without extraction limits. Unlike the past when sand mining was dominated by local people, it is increasingly attracting foreign investors.

According to the committee, the main consumers of the sand are Ugandans and that it is scrutinizing credible leads that allude to the concerns raised that sand is being exported abroad without value addition.


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.