There is a growing tension amongst local investors seeking grow and export medical marijuana in Uganda.
According to officials who intimated to this website, most of the local investors have fulfilled the prerequisites required to engage in the new form of farming but nothing has been done in approval from the government.
Amongst the stringent requirements set by authorities is that a company seeking to grow and export medical marijuana is to present a minimum capital of 5 million US dollars equivalent to Shs 18bn and a guarantee of Shs 4bn from a bank.
Others are valid trading licences, clearance from the tax body URA, evidence of ability to add value to the plant and many more.
Some of the affected companies include Oweisa (U) Ltd, Sativa Agro-tech Ltd, Quest Worths International Group, Seven Blades and prime Ranchers.
Others include Medaw (U), Urban Properties, Premier Hemp, Natgro Pharm and Silver seeds (U) Ltd.
These local investors say that despite the submission of all the requirements, government has not reverted its decision to award monopoly to a single firm called Industrial Hemp (U) limited.
These say that since the year started, government has not issued licences to any of the local applicants.
Monopolistic operations of Hemp (U) ltd has started raising panic amongst the pending companies as it has already started exporting its products to the market earlier than its would-be competitors.
The European Union also approved Uganda’s bid to export marijuana but there’s only a single monopolistic supplier on the market who cannot serve it as expected.
Other stakeholders say, the delays have been politically motivated by some actors which has affected many investors who have started registering losses.
Last year, the minister of health Dr Ruth Aceng said that government through her ministry was carrying out consultations to understand the economic benefits of cannabis trade, medical values and challenges in regulation, which outcomes of the consultation process have delayed to date.
Investors point out the delay in approval of local companies to take part in the cannabis industry is at a disadvantage of the population as it is expected to create over 100,000 jobs for Ugandans.