Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Shoddy USMID Works In Hoima Irk MPs

By George Busiinge

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have expressed dismay over the delayed completion of Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) projects in Hoima municipality. 

The World Bank funded projects, which focuses at expansion and improving the potholed roads in Hoima town, street lighting and beautification of the town, started in February 2015 on a one year contract, but since then work has never been completed. Plinth Technical Services was contracted for the works.

The initial contract expired in February 2016. However, the contractor failed to beat the deadline and asked for an extension which was granted up to August 2016 but up to date work is still incomplete. 

The law makers led by committee chairman Regan Okumu, inspected the project works but they were shocked by the shoddy and delayed works. Okumu expressed worry that the remaining funds may not be enough for the remaining works.  

However, Peter Matsiko the Hoima Municipal town clerk, says plans are underway to find another contractor to complete the works.

NFA Under Fire Over Illegal Logging In Bugoma Forest

By George Busiinge

The National Forestry Authority (NFA) has come under fire from the communities neighboring Bugoma Central Forest Reserve in Hoima district for abetting illegal lumbering. Residents accuse NFA officials for laxity, which has fueled the illegal timber trade and charcoal burning within the forest. 

They expressed their concern during a two day collaborative meeting organized by the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) held at Kabwoya sub county headquarters  in Hoima.  Annet Agaba, a tree planting coordinator for Kidoma Conservation Development Association told the meeting that NFA officials don't respond to calls when residents notify them about the activities of illegal loggers. 

She explains that when the Community Forest Management groups entered partnership with NFA, the Bugoma forest was in a very good shape, but the laxity of NFA officials has fueled lumbering. Charles Byamuleme, a resident of Kyangwali Sub County accuses NFA especially the forest supervisors and police personally deployed to guard the forest for conniving with illegal loggers to cut down trees. 

Stuart Maniraguha, the Budongo Range Manager, said the issue of illegal lumbering involves both residents and community members. 
He said they are strengthening partnerships with communities and other stakeholders to ensure the reserve is protected and free from illegal activities. 

Joan Akiza from National Association of Professional Environmentalists -NAPE called upon all the stakeholders to work together in order to prevent the cutting of timbers and charcool in Bugoma forest and promised total support as NAPE . 


Alberine Grabben SMEs Get KCB Business Skills

By George Busiinge 

Bankers KCB Uganda in partnership with Uganda Small Scale Industry Association (USSIA) has embarked on empowering entrepreneurs with business management skills within the oil and gas region. 

Over 55 Small And Medium Enterprises (SMEs) persons from Hoima district have so far been trained in business management, financial literacy, cash flow projection and banking relationship management so that if oil and gas start flowing they can be able to handle the money they could get from oil and gas and related activities.

The two day training was held at Glory Summit Hotel in Hoima town. Meanwhile, 175 business people have received similar training in Mbale, Lira, Gulu and Arua districts from the East African commercial bank. 

David Mulya, an International Labour Organization (ILO) certified trainer who facilitated the training noted that it is important for SMEs in the oil and gas region to get business skills in areas such as bookkeeping and cash flow management because many times that is what makes the difference between businesses that survive and thrive and those that fail.

The shift from small to medium and large scale business however has tended to be harder for most businesses to make. It is that journey that KCB under its Foundation arm aims to make easier with business management and financial literacy training. 

Emmanuel Njuki, the Brand & Communications Manager at KCB says the initiative was launched after observing that many business people lack business management skills.

Under the KCB Foundation, KCB Bank supports communities in 5 thematic areas namely; Education, Health, Entrepreneurship, Environment and Humanitarian aid. In the Albertine grabben the bank has so far supplied oxygen concentrator to Kigorobya health centre, solar 
panels to some school and trained residents how to apply fire extiquishers incase fire broke out in the area. 

He notes that it is important for SMEs to develop skills in areas such as book keeping, customer care and cash flow management among others. Peter Ssemiga, one of the trainees commended the initiative adding that it will help them to sustain their business. 

Hoima-Kabwoya Road Victims To Get Shs2bn Compensation

By George Busiinge 

A private report has put the total costs of over Shs2 billion as compensation for over 400 people affected by the 68 kilometer Hoima-Kabwoya road. The residents affected by the road section last year contracted Aerial Environ Consults, a private valuer to re-evaluate their properties after they disagreed with government evaluation report. 

The residents claimed their properties were undervalued and untimely paid. Despite the road construction underway, majority have not been compensated. The angry residents later hired Owen Mulangira law firm to sue the Uganda Roads Authority. 

The report was displayed to them at Buswekera primary school in Hoima this week. Ronald Kato Rwahwire, a lead lawyer in the company said this will act as a basic tool for them to file a case in court very soon to compel Uganda National Roads Authority to pay the affected residents. 

He called for calm among the affected residents saying those who missed to be captured in the first report will be considered in the second phase. The report has attracted excitement from the affected residents saying it has restored hope in them to get what they ought to. 

Government contracted Stanfield consultants to work on the compensation of the affected people and China Railway to tarmac the road. The road now under construction is part of the bigger Kigumba-Kyewnjojo road. 

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