Democratic Party(DP), has condemned the recently signed coffee agreement between the government of Uganda and Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited which has since been criticised by sector players.
Government recently signed a deal with Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited to establish a coffee processing plant at Namanve industrial park where Italian businesswoman Enrica Pinetti signed on behalf of the company.
The deal has elicited an uproar in the country since last week when information leaked that the deal was awarded to Pinetti, the woman behind the stalled International Specialised Hospital project in Lubowa, Wakiso district.
The project is more than two years behind deadline despite the $379 million (about Shs1.4 trillion) backing from the government.
Several members of the public, especially those involved in the coffee sector have since protested against the “bad” deal.
Speaking on the matter, Richard Lumu Kizito, Member of Parliament for Mityana South and DP Whip said this agreement was signed before prior consultations with the relevant entities including ministries.
He said that it is clear on the face of it that the said agreement wasn’t made for the benefit of all Ugandans except the few individuals that have hatched a plan to steal our coffee and deprive Ugandan farmers an opportunity to earn more from their coffee.
“We note with concern that the government has given more powers to this Italian investor than necessary, firstly the tax holidays given to this investor just like it has been the case with other foreign investors reflects the unfairness to the local investors who are never given such tax holidays and yet such benefits would encourage and empower them to invest more in their country,” he said.
He explained that Coffee being the leading cash crop of Uganda, the country cannot afford to give absolute control of the purchase, processing and exportation of coffee to a foreigner.
“This would actually mean that the efforts of a coffee farmer will not be adequately appreciated since the prices of the coffee will be determined by the mood of the investor,” said Lumu.
He further revealed that the party is going to lead a caravan intended to sensitise the coffee farmers about the implications of this decision made by the government.
“It is a bad decision that should not be given lee way into the economy. It is going to turn our people into slaves working for the said Italian investor. This is unfortunate and as DP, new are prepared to fight it beginning from Buganda and Busoga where coffee is mainly grown,” he said.