Agriculture

Agriculture Ministry Tasked To Reconcile Activities

Ministry of agriculture has been tasked to reconcile its operations with other government led initiatives; notably, Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) and National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) program.

MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi made the call at the climax of an interface with officials from the Agriculture Ministry.

Mafabi who is the chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament says this is imperative to avoid wastage of public resources and duplication of services.

“What is ministry of agriculture, Operation Wealth Creation and NAADS doing? We also want to know how much money we give them. If agriculture was really a total unit, how much has been given”, he asks.

Besides accountability and detailed activities, Mafabi also wants to know the criteria used for selecting beneficiaries.

“For us in our areas for Operation Wealth Creation if you don’t have a yellow T-shirt you can’t get a goat and a cow. So are there yellow gardens and taxpayers?”

Audit Queries

Meanwhile ministry officials faced a tough time explaining titled land acquired in respect to palm oil development in Buvuma and Kalangala districts.

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At the time of this audit the ministry had acquired 7,723.7 hectares in Buvuma. However, 5,857.3 hectares of the above mentioned land mass valued at 52.9 billion shillings is not titled.

On the other hand, Pius Wakabi Kasajja the permanent secretary ministry of agriculture says outstanding titles have since been secured.

Kasajja says there is no discrepancy if documents are to be scrutinized accordingly.

His explanation did not convince Mafabi who asked them to carry with them bank statements for 2017/18 up to date regarding land transactions. Documents indicating land acquired as 30th June 2018 and the current status are also needed.

Last week, this same committee ordered government to renegotiate BIDCOs palm oil growing contacts.

According to the agreement signed with BIDCO in April 2003, taxes were differed until government hands over the entire 26,500 hectares needed for palm growing.

Article 5(7) of the contract stipulates that government has to pay Value Added Tax (VAT) on products envisaged under this project for 11 years commencing with that when the 26,500 hectares will be received.

Value Added Tax shouldered by citizen’s to date amounts to 64 billion shillings.

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