Investor stuck with charcoal exports worth Shs150 million

Kampala- The government has ordered National Forestry Authority to defend a licence it issued an electric pole manufacturing company to start exporting charcoal toEurope.

While presiding over the first quarterly Uganda-Nordic Business Association meeting yesterday in Kampala, Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Minister Amelia Kyambadde said there is a standing ban on export of forest products within the East African Community and wondered why the company was given a licence to export charcoal.

“EAC banned export of charcoal within the region because Uganda had gone too far with environmental degradation but if you can convince, compile the facts and we present it to the ministerial meeting on investment next week,” she told the NFA spokesperson Gilbert Kadilo.

Ms Kyambadde was reacting to a report that the Busoga Forestry Company has failed to secure a certificate to export charcoal to Europe yet it is engaged in commercial tree production where it can produce charcoal commercially without degrading the environment.

“For us as long as you show us that you can produce charcoal sustainably, we have no objection to licensing such a business because we are mitigating pressure on future energy needs which will heavily depend on biomass,” Mr Kadilo told the minister.

According to the managing director Busoga Forestry Company, Mr Isaac Kapalaga, the company is stuck with 250,000 metric tonnes of charcoal which it obtains from cut-offs from the electricity poles they manufacture. They hoped to export it to Europe but have failed to acquire an export licence.
“We have 65,000 acres of commercial forests in Mayuge and Zombo Districts and we manufacture charcoal from offcuts from the electricity poles which is sustainable because we are not destroying the environment,” he said.

sotage@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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