Wakiso, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | More than thirty people who were given a concession by the National Forestry Authority-NFA to grow trees in Kyewaga Forest in Katabi Town Council are intending to sue NFA for irregularly terminating their concession.
The concessionaires complain that their permits/licenses issued at different times between 1995 and 2014 were unceremoniously brought to an end and a new investor was brought in.
In 2015, Intabuild East Africa Limited entered individual separate agreements with the concessionaires.
Paul Drichi, one of the affected persons who held a seventeen years license had his interest cut short by fifteen years with the investor promising to pay him 100 Million Shillings as of March 2016.
Margaret Namalera who had been promised 20 million Shillings for her interest was also made to cede her five-hectare concession while Nora Luutu ceded her three-hectare interest for a promise of 30 million Shillings.
Lugayizi Chris and Katongole Fred who jointly held a three-hectare interest had agreed to be compensated 60 million Shillings for their pine plantation.
“The NFA left us in the hands of the new investor who the Authority told us had come up with a more viable project and would compensate us for our interests. It is now something like eight years and the investor has never compensated us in spite of various endless reminders,” Lugayizi said.
The concessionaires, under the Urban Plantation Tourism Project, signed an agreement under which each was to use the land allocated for growing trees of Pinus borcapa, Pinus caribae, and Eucalyptus grandis species. They paid license fees and in addition had to pay annual fees, the fulfillment of which entitled them to harvest the plants and share 1 percent with the licensor.
The group alleges that the new titles could have been issued or be in the process of being issued to those more powerful or better placed with the support of those in NFA.
When the URN reporter visited part of the forest, some of the concessionaries had their areas graded. Haji Issa Kiggundu, a representative of IntaBuild East Africa could not be reached for comment.
Efforts by URN to get comments from the NFA proved futile. However, in a notice dated May 12th, 2022 to the concessionaires, written by Paul Buyera Musamali on behalf of the Executive Director, NFA noted that it had not renewed the permit or issued a license under the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act.