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MPs question UGX40b additional fund to Atiak sugar investor

House in the discussion. MPs want to know the motive behind the decision by government to inject UGX41b in Atiak sugar factory. (PHOTO/FILE)

KAMPALA – A section of legislators on the Budget Committee have questioned the motive behind the decision by government to inject UGX41b in Atiak sugar factory owned by Horyal Investment Company Holdings Limited whose chief executive officer is Somalia-born businesswoman Amina Moghe, who argued that the money is required to provide support to sugarcane outgrowers, offset the balance of procuring machines and restructure their loan period with dfcu Bank.

The supplementary request is being spearheaded by the National Agriculture and Advisory Services (NAADs) that appeared before the Committee to defend the budget in which it wants the funds to buy sugarcane seeds, herbicides, weeding, planting and fertilizer for the investor.

Mr. Samuel Mugisa, the executive director of NAADs presented before the Committee the breakdown of the expenditure in which he revealed that already, UGX10.7b has been allocated to the investor in the 2018/2019  budget but there is need to have UGX30.5b for the factor to kick off.

However, the Committee rejected the request and tasked the NAADs team to furnish Parliament with sufficient information after questions were raised on why government is singling out this particular investor.

Ms. Ann Maria Nankabirwa (Kyankwanzi Woman) argued that the move is discriminatory: “How many people in Buikwe are owning shares in the sugar factories what have we given them? We have gone, treated, we want to give stain, weeding, we want to plough for the same people and they are shareholders who will also earn dividends and even harvest for them if at all that is the scope the whole country is taking elsewhere, I wouldn’t mind.”

Mr. Patrick Isiagi, the Vice-Chairperson Budget Committee also raised questions on the identity of the investor who will take away taxpayers’ money with such a juicy deal:“But if you are just going to put money for the sake who is that Ugandan who sits there you plough a garden for him until you put fertilizers, you harvest, you sell then money goes to him, who is that lucky Ugandan? Are you not encouraging laziness, then come and do for every Ugandan.”

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