By Sarah Nabuloli & Agencies
Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Friday asked charcoal dealers to stop its exportation to neighboring countries. Media has of recent been awash with reports that charcoal trade is booming in neighboring Kenya, an issue that has led to the hike in prices of charcoal.
A bag of charcoal in Kampala costs between Shs80, 000 to 100,000, the price dealers attribute to its high demand in Kenya.
Kadaga said Parliament shall establish punitive measures against those involved in the practice.
“It is clear that as a country, we are not doing enough to stop charcoal burning. For how long are we going to allow our natural resources to be destroyed?” Kadaga said.
“I want you [MPs] to bring a motion to discuss the issue of charcoal burning and alternative energy,” Kadaga said during an event to replenish Mount Moroto forest reserve in Moroto district.
In a collaborative effort with the National Forestry Authority, Parliament will be monitoring the forest reserve for the next three years.
Minister of State for Karamoja Affairs, Moses Kizige, said restoration of the forest reserve would increase the fast depleting national forest cover.
Acting National Forestry Authority (NFA) Executive Director Paul Buyera strained to deny claims that a section of the forest reserve is going to be cleared.
“This forest reserve was gazetted for ecological reasons, to act as a catchment area…as NFA we shall not cut that forest but instead plant it more to green this area,” Buyera said.
He promised to sign more memorandum of understanding with local authorities to improve the forest cover.
Speaker Kadaga promised to deliver up to 600 textbooks to aid learners, especially candidates.
She also committed to work for the marginalized, reassuring the locals that positive aspects of their culture shall be preserved.
“This is the opportunity to address the rights of the indigenous people. Let us do our part to ensure that our people do not become extinct,” Kadaga said.