Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 08:37 am
Gulu I At least 6,000 sacks of impounded charcoal will be rebagged before they are auctioned, tndNews understands. The sacks have been exposed to sunshine and rain for over 3 months.
On Friday last week, tndNews’ Okot Lil Romeo visited the National Forestry Authority’s regional office in Gulu where the impounded charcoal is stored. He observed that most of the charcoals were rotten due to regular exposure to rain.
John Giribo, range manager at the authority in charge of Aswa River said the process of procurement has taken a long time, making the charcoals stay in the sun and get hit by rain. He said the forest product was getting rotten before the auctioning.
Under the National Forestry Authority, the Aswa River region covers two sub-regions of Acholi and Lango with a total of 83 central forest reserves under its care.
Giribo noted that they have been implementing Presidential Order Number 3 on the charcoal business across the Northern region.
However, before the order, he said they were doing routine monitoring of the forests to fight such illegal business. He told this publication that enforcement was a challenge.
During the enforcement and implementation of the executive order, he revealed that they managed to impound over 6,673 bags of charcoal.
Over 52 cases (offenders) from Kitgum, Lamwo, Nwoya; Amuru and Gulu districts have appeared before the Court.
National Forest Authority is facing the challenge of limited funds to fuel their vehicles to run the two sub-regions, according to Giribo, adding that the government only provides UGX400,000 monthly for fuel.
The fuel, he said runs out in the middle of the month.
They are trying to develop strategies to bring community forestry committee members on board to help sensitize the local community on the beauty of protecting the environment. For this to be effective, it calls for collective efforts from different stakeholders to come on board and make the forests sustainable through community awareness campaigns.
“Completion of the procurement process was done on October 16, 2023, by procurement teams,” Giribo said ahead of public auctioning in the coming weeks.
Two weeks ago, the State minister for Northern Uganda, Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny directed the National Forest Authority in Aswa region to distribute the impounded 6,673 sacks to institutions like schools instead of auctioning them to the public.
The Minister gave an order on October 7, 2023, when she was discussing the progress in implementing Executive Order Number 3 issued by President Museveni.
She said that there is no need for NFA to auction the impounded charcoals because it would bring a lot of conflicts to Presidential Order.
Kwiyucwiny said the Ministry of Water and Environment should ensure that the distribution of charcoal to institutions like schools is implemented.
“Many complaints have been tabled by people that National Forest Authority is allegedly doing illegal individual sales,” the Minister revealed.
According to the Minister, her team in their recent investigations into some districts found that Amuru, Adjumani in Joka forest, Nowya, Gulu and Pader districts are highly practising illegal charcoal business.
The origin of massive charcoal business started in Omoro and Gulu districts’ Loyo-ajonga, Acet, Awere, Ocimi, Lamaze, Omel, Ourapwoyo, Awash, Patiko and Paicho, among other areas in 2007 when people were released from different IDP camps.