By Frederick Kiwanuka
A five-acre plot of land worth sh115m, which the Government bought for the construction of a fruit processing plant in Luwero, is lying idle due to confusion among the implementers.
The confusion came after the Austrian co-investor, Prisch Karl-Eine, who was supposed to contribute 30% of the project cost, pulled out of the joint venture. The Government also failed to fulfil its part.
President Museveni had ordered that the project be funded under the National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) in 2008.
The Uganda Government on February 5, 2009 signed a memorandum of understanding with Nature Uganda Co-operative Society Limited (NUCSL), a cooperative entity under the Kasana-Luwero Catholic Diocese, to set up the joint venture.
Under the joint venture, the Government, through the finance ministry, was to contribute 400,000 euros (70% of project total cost), while NUCSL and the Austrian investor would provide 177,980 euros (30%).
However, NUCSL later said it was unable to raise the 30% after the Karl-Eine, with whom they had formed the cooperative entity, pulled out.
According to a follow up report by a team deployed to monitor the progress of the project, the Government paid sh115.2m in February 2009. It was used to buy a five-acre plot of land in Luwero town.
The team noted that after using the sh115m, NUCSL requisitioned for the second and final installment of sh588m, which the finance ministry has not honoured to date.
The team observed that the impasse was partly caused by failure to harmonise information between the agriculture ministry, which is supposed to supervise the implementation of the project, and that of finance, which is supposed to fund the project.