The Minister for Science Innovation and Technology Dr. Monica Musenero has been accused of halting the release of Shs 43 billion approved by Parliament for the silk project in Uganda.
Dr. Clet Wandui Masiga, the executive director Sericulture Project and Project Principal Investigator at the Tropical Institute of Development Innovation (TRIDI), said the minister claimed that she is still trying to ‘understand’ what exactly silk growing is.
He noted that her decision to halt the disbursement of the funds is taking a huge toll on creation of jobs, and the enhancement of increased revenue for the country.
“The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development made available the funds but up to now we have not received any funding. The delayed release of funds is causing economic waste of investment and denying Ugandans the jobs both at technical and non-technical levels. Our estimated losses shall be shs 73 billion shillings should we not receive the funds in a timely manner this Financial Year alone,’ said Masiga.
He explained currently they have over 2,000 acres of land with mulberry a key ingredient for feeding silkworms.
“We are already employing 1300 people. But since the funds have been delayed, we are losing over shs 4 billion per month in losses,” he said as he addressed the media at the Namasumbi station in Mukono.
Wandui said with sadness that the 2,239 acreages of mulberry would yield Shs 4 billion in leaves, Shs 8 billion in cocoons, shs 208 billion in sale of silk and yarn and Shs 40 billion in silk fabric annually.
Hardships began to be experienced in the financial year 2021/22 when there was transition from the former Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations (MOSTI) to the Science, Technology and Innovations Office of the President (STI-OP).
Masiga said the delayed release of funds has led to the death of seven of their staff.
The journey to invest in Silk in Uganda was formerly recognized in the textile policy that came into force in January 2010.
The textile policy emphasizes that silk is another fibre produced in few districts of the country, mainly in the western and central regions of the country.