The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has obtained a concession from the Finance Ministry for the establishment of the Tree Fund to protect the rapidly disappearing national forest cover.
During an interaction with Youth Go-Green, a non-governmental organisation that advocates for the preservation of national forests, Kadaga said the Fund will end the alarming rate of deforestation.
“This week, I talked to the Minister of Finance [Matia Kasaija] about deforestation. In this budget [2018/2019], I have been pressuring the Minister to introduce this Fund and the money will be there,” said Kadaga.
The country has been awakened by a damning news story run by a local television on the industrial-scale deforestation of Mabira forest.
Led by Edwin Muhumuza, the CEO Youth Go-Green, the youth blamed the increasingly unpredictable climate on effects of deforestation condoned by what they called irresponsible government officials’ wanton abandon.
“The forests have been depleted massively; we want to find a possible solution to encroachment and deforestation. We can’t just sit back and watch the encroachers destroy our forest,” said Muhumuza.
Section 40 of the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act 2003 establishes the Tree Fund, which has for long not been operationalized.
The fund, according to the Act, shall be sourced from monies appropriated by Parliament, loans obtained by Government, grants, gifts, donations and any other source approved by the Minister responsible for environment.
This comes on the heels of continued demands for government action against loggers and other activities that undermine the national forest cover.
As a result of the recent news story, the Ministry of Environment established a body to investigate the alleged vast deforestation at Mabira and provide stopgap measures to avert any further damages.