Two weeks after the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Hon. Matia Kasaija sealed the agreement permitting the Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited exclusive rights to buy, process and export Uganda’s coffee, the Bugisu Cooperative union (BCU) initiated plans to sue the government over the decision.
In a telephone interview today on The Fatboy Show, the Bugisu Cooperative Union chairperson Hon Nandala Mafabi stressed that monopolizing a foreign company to buy and process all the coffee in the region is unacceptable and an open form of corruption that is being manifested by the government.
“Whenever you give monopoly, you are promoting corruption. A fair trade system in a liberal sector means the one who has been given more favorable terms will trade more than others. For someone in authority to give the concession, that’s corruption of the highest order, because if it isn't corruption, why would the whole Ministry of Finance sign an agreement which is to make Ugandans slaves?” He asked.
Hon Mafabi went on to say that as per the Buy Uganda Build Uganda phenomenon, if the government wanted to add value to the coffee, it should have invested in a local manufacturing and processing plant for instance supporting the Bugisu Cooperative Union by specifying the requirements for value addition rather than giving these rights to the Italian company.
“The government doesn't need to build for us a plant but it could support a company like the Bugisu Cooperative Union. If it requires value addition, let it provide specifications and equipment, we build it and do value addition and exportation instead of bringing an Italian, who doesn't even know how our coffee is and you say that our farmers should produce coffee for her factory. That means making coffee farmers slaves which is unacceptable.”
The Uganda Vinci Company headed by businesswoman Enrica Pinetti was allocated land in Kampala Industrial area and Business Park Namanve. The agreement signed excludes it from taxation and can be renewed after its expiration date in 2032. The Coffee plant is to process 60,000 tons of coffee per year and will also offer 246 jobs to skilled Ugandan laborers.
However, the union chairperson said that exempting the Uganda Vinci Coffee Company from taxation is an extended form of corruption more so if it's given to one company, especially a foreign one.
“If an Italian has come to invest here, it means they have money and can invest in their country too and exempting them is to their own advantage. The government should have exempted its local companies or even invested in them.
That company claiming to bring money here is going to use its government's money to invest, make money and even export jobs because after the coffee has been processed here, it will be exported to Italy where an outlet will be set up to provide more jobs to people.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive and Sarah every weekday from 6am to 10am on RX Radio.