The Minister of State For Finance, Evelyn Anite has said government is going to withdraw the licence that Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) recently awarded to an Israeli company to grow and process Medical Cannabis (Marijuana) in Kasese.
According to Emely Kugonza, the Chairperson of the Board, UIA, a company locally known as Industrial Globus Uganda Limited approached UIA seeking a licence to grow marijuana in Kasese, Busongora County, North 079, Hima Town Council for medical purposes and export.
The company also wanted to put up a factory in Kampala that will process the Marijuana for export.
“UIA only gave the licence because the company had already been cleared by National Drug, Inspector General of Police and Ministry of Agriculture. Our job is to offer licence to approved companies. There is no way we were going to deny the licence when all the other concerned agencies had given a go ahead,” he said.
“Medical Cannabis is accepted. What Ugandans should be worried about is the acceptable procedures of growing, processing and exporting the Marijuana which are being followed to the dot,” Kugonza said.
According to Anite, the licence is being withheld after public outcry about how such an investment might affect the public. It is also to give ample time to the Ministry of health to do due diligence on the company and the use of Marijuana as medicine.
“The Issue came to the cabinet but the discussion was not conclusive. We decided that Ministry of Health would do more research on Medical Cannabis growing and processing. The Ministry was supposed to come back on the 15th of May 2019 with findings. When I read that UIA had already licensed a company to invest in that, I immediately got concerned,” she said during the official inauguration of New UIA board Members at the head offices today.
She however noted that UIA had followed all the right procedures in licencing the company and are not at fault, however she had directed them to withhold the licence until cabinet came to a conclusive decision on whether Uganda needs such an investment.
“No activity should take place from today until Cabinet gives a proper directive. Being a diverse investment country, Government will do proper research and consultation about the benefits and disadvantages of such an investment and make a decision,” she said.
The company is said to have an investment plan of $5m (Shs18.7b).