By Catherine Kabugho
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has called for an end to charcoal burning and its exportation to neighboring countries.
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?” said Kadaga.
“In the third session of Parliament, I want you (MPs) to bring a motion to discuss the issue of charcoal burning and alternative energy,” said Kadaga, during an event to replenish Mount Moroto forest reserve in Moroto district.
The tree planting in Moroto marked an end to the Parliament Week activities of 2018. Parliament Week is an annual open week to enhance public interaction with the Legislature.
In a collaborative effort with the National Forestry Authority, Parliament will be monitoring the forest reserve for the next three years.
The Minister of State for Karamoja Affairs, Moses Kizige, said restoration of the forest reserve will increase the fast depleting national forest cover.
“This region accounts for 25 per cent of the National forest cover. Restoring it will be great for this country,” said Kizige.
Acting NFA Executive Director, Paul Buyera strained to deny claims that a section of the forest reserve is going to be cleared.
“Purposely, 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,” said Buyera.
He promised to sign more memoranda of understanding with local authorities to improve the forest cover.
Themed “fight desertification, plant a tree,” the event attracted several MPs including Atiang Stella (NRM, Moroto), Anyakun Esther (NRM, Nakapiripirit), among others.
Speaker Kadaga promised to deliver up to 600 text books 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,” she said.