The future of Uganda’s coffee sector and the 15 million people who work in the crop’s value chain remains unclear after the Parliament’s Deputy Speaker declined to table and debate a key report on the sector.
< p>The document prepared by the House Committee touched on the controversial agreement between the government and Italian investor Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Ltd.
But for the third time in a week, Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa resisted the pressure lawmakers to amend the agreement order paper and allow Commerce Committee Chair Mwine Mpaka to deliver the report. On May 2, Mr Mpaka said the investigative report on the Vinci coffee deal was ready and was just awaiting allotted time on the order paper to present it to Parliament.
“The article will come,” said Mr Tayebwa. “I know the report is complete, but the Chair must always read [and] understand the report so that he can moderate the matter once he has his say.”
Mr Tayebwa responded to Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, who said the coffee deal was “urgent” and “controversial” and the report’s findings and recommendations should take precedence before the spokesman referred new business to the trade committee .
The report, signed by all 27 committee members, will be debated, followed by a vote to decide whether to end or maintain the coffee business.
On April 10, On February 11, the Ugandan government, through Finance Minister Matia Kasaija and Secretary of State Ramathan Ggoobi, signed an agreement with Vinci Coffee Company, represented by Enrica Pinetti.
The agreement does not just give Vinci Coffee Company a mono pol to purchase, but also to set the price at which the coffee will be delivered to him.
The deal also makes a number of other concessions that have been sharply criticized by lawmakers and stakeholders in the coffee sector. These include a 10-year tax holiday and contributions to the National Social Security Fund, 25 acres of land in the Namanve Industrial and Commercial Park to build a soluble coffee processing plant with a capacity of 60,000 tons per year, starting at 27,000 tons.< /p >
When the deal broke, it aroused emotion among stakeholders in the sector, which employs many Ugandans, including 12 million farmers, as well as traders and exporters who benefit from the country’s top export product.