The National policy committee on Environment has resolved to ban the export of timber and canceled all licenses and permits issued in this regard as one way of protecting the environment in the country for non-compliance.
This follows a directive issued by President Yoweri Museveni dated 21st June 2023 instructing the prime minister to take action to reverse the worrying trends of forestry cover degradation.
According to the letter the president was concerned that there is indiscriminate harvesting of forests in the country whether private or public in the guise of exporting it.
While communicating the resolutions of the meeting the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja who chaired the meeting at the office of the Prime Minister says that the ban takes effect immediately.
Nabbanja says that all government law enforcement agencies are hereby instructed to implement the directive and whoever fails to comply shall be disciplined accordingly.
The state minister for environment Beatrice Anywar welcomed the directive issued by the president and promised to ensure that the order is implemented to the dot.
The minister for lands, housing and urban development Judith Nabakooba says that they have already begun investigating the titles that were issued in government forest reserves to comply with the presidential directive.
Dr. Edward Mukiza, the Director General Uganda Investment Authority says that Uganda is a bio-diversity country that should protect the environment even by the investors who come to the country.
Dr. Tom Obong Okello the executive director National Forestry Authority (NFA) and Francis Sabino Ogwal, the Acting executive director National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) welcomed the presidential directive and pledged to implement it fully to save the country from deforestation.
Nabbanja says that all those having permits and licenses should abide by the directive and that the government has already put in place a legal team to address any issues that may arise as a result of the directive.
In a related development the National policy committee on environment also resolved to suspend all activities taking place in Bugoma forest whether it belongs to Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom or government or any individual.
Nabbanja says that the government is determined to preserve the environment for a common good.
The Kingdom of Bunyoro Kitara had issued a lease of 99 years to Hoima Sugar limited to clear 24 square miles of Bugoma forest to plant sugar cane.
NEMA cleared Hoima Sugar to continue with its activities after a protracted legal battle by government and civil society and the general public.
Meanwhile the minister for Lands Housing and Urban development Judith Nabakooba briefed the meeting that the Bugoma Central Forest reserve boundary opening report is ready and will be disseminated next week to the public.
According to available literature, Uganda had 10 million hectares of Forest cover, fell down to 4.9million hectares in 1990 but currently the country has less than 2 million hectares of forest cover.
However, the country has been steadily increasing the forest cover but the mushrooming wood processing units in the country has led to a reduction in the forest cover.