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IT’S NOT ME: Minister Tumwebaze Speaks on Controversial Multi-Billion Deal Given to Italian Investor

Minister Frank Tumwebaze

Frank Tumwebaze, the minister of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries, has distanced himself from a controversial coffee deal with an Italian firm. 

On April 12, Speaker of Parliament Anita Among directed the Committee on Trade Tourism and Industry to probe a controversial coffee agreement signed between Government and Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited (UVCC).

According to the agreement signed on February 10 by Finance Minister Matia Kasaija and Italian investor Enrica Pinneti on behalf of UVCC, the coffee company retains the exclusive right to buy all Uganda’s coffee.

Raising a matter of national importance in Parliament on April 12, 2022, Abed Bwanika, the Member of Parliament for Kimanya-Kabonera, said that the agreement alienates Ugandans from the coffee business as it gives monopoly of purchase and export of coffee to only one organization.

Bwanika said that the company is also exempted from all taxes, given a special tariff as far as electricity is concerned and all these provisions violate the laws of Uganda. He called on Parliament to prevail on the said agreement to protect coffee farmers.

“This document gives them power, that nobody will procure coffee unless this company gets the quota that they want. The provisions of the Coffee Act section 52 say that the Coffee Authority should be the one to come up with auction avenues where our coffee should be traded, but this agreement gives the company the right to determine the price,” Bwanika said.

Kazo County MP Dan Kimosho said that the same investor has failed to complete the International Specialized Hospital of Uganda in Lubowa. He said Parliament and the Ministry of Health have failed to supervise the project.

“It has been very difficult for this Parliament to supervise works going on at Lubowa; we have been crying about medical tourism but I was shocked when I saw the Ministry of Finance entering in agreement with the same person that we are failing to supervise,” Kimosho said.

It was against these complaints that

Following the debate, Anita Speaker Among directed the Ministry of Trade to scrutinize the agreement.

“The issue of tax exemptions; there are so many people who have benefitted from tax exemptions, we want to understand the cost-benefit analysis, we need to understand who are these persons benefitting from the exemption and what is the criteria of giving the exemptions,” said Among.


Now, Minister Tumwebaze, who supervises the agriculture docket, has distanced himself from the controversial agreement.

Tumwebaze says Matia Kasaija’s finance ministry should answer all questions regarding the deal.

“A note to journalists calling me and seeking to know more about the coffee agreement recently signed between Government of Uganda with one investor: be advised that neither myself nor Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is a party/ privy to that agreement,” said Tumwebaze in a short statement. 

It was signed on behalf of Government of Uganda by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED). So, I advise, that all queries regarding the same be directed to the ministry of finance for correct information and reporting.”

The Pearl Times understands that MoFPED’s permanent secretary and secretary to the treasury, Ramathan Ggoobi has called a press conference to address the matter on April 14.

WHAT A RESPONSE! Angry Minister Tumwebaze Sends Clear Message to Tamale Mirundi over Insults

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