The ministry of water and environment blames parliament for the increased environment degradation across the country. The ministry says parliament has been significantly cutting their budgets for tree planting in consecutive financial years. However, MPs sitting on the Public Accounts committee fault the ministry officials for sleeping on Job while environment depletion rages on.
According to the permanent secretary of the ministry of water and environment Alfred Okidi parliament has been making huge cuts in the budget for community tree planting which has frustrated efforts by the ministry to restore the vegetation cover by supporting communities to plant trees.
Okidi made remarks while appearing before the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee in charge of central government where he had appeared to respond to the audit queries for the financial year ended June 2022. He explained that in the last financial year the entity budgeted for 18bn to procure tree seedlings but when the budget came to parliament it was cut to zero.
Okidi invoked blames on parliament after MPs on PAC led by the chairperson Medard Lubegga Ssegona slammed the ministry for sleeping on the job while the environment is being depleted across the country. Segona warned that if the ministry doesn’t intervene to restore the depleted green cover in Northern Uganda, that part of the country will be a desert in the next decade.
Committee members wondered why they are not seeing massive tree planting campaigns in the country yet parliament approved a loan recently for tree planting. In 2021 parliament approved a loan request by the ministry of water and Environment to borrow 286 billion Shillings from the World Bank to restore forests in the country.
According to Global Forest Watch, From 2001 to 2022, Uganda lost 1.03 million hectares of tree cover, equivalent to a 13% decrease in tree cover since 2000, and 463 Metric tons of Carbon dioxide emissions. In the wake of that reality, the government has banned up to 40 companies involved in the export of unprocessed timber out of Uganda and also banned charcoal trade in Northern Uganda.
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