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Museveni: Pinetti Was Clueless About Coffee Business But I Told Her To Invest In The Sector Because She Has Contacts

President Yoweri Museveni has admitted that he fronted Italian investor Enrica Pinetti to lead investment in the coffee sector despite knowing she was clueless about operations of the sector.

The President said those against her and the coffee deal are merchants of slavery in Africa.

The President made the revelations during the State of the Nation Address at Kololo Ceremonial Groundon Tuesday, June 7, 2022 where he promised to meet all players in the coffee sector to explain to them his decision to choose Pinetti.

“When I met Pinetti the one you have been attacking, she had no idea about coffee, it isn’t her. She had no idea about coffee. I however could see that she had wide network of contacts, I asked her to look into coffee, after sometime, she came back with a positive report. I am the one who told her. For her she was in hospital,” Museveni said .

The President’s decision to settle for Pinetti came after the embarrassment he suffered upon learning that the total value of coffee in the world is US$460Bn, however of this figure the coffee growing countries of the whole world only get US$25Bn and of this money, the African coffee growing countries only earn US$2.4Bn with the majority of coffee proceedings earned by nations that add value to their coffee.

“Therefore those attacking that project are supporters of perpetual bleeding of Africa. If they are not, they would have responded to the call of Government. I am ready to sit down with all those coffee people, if you want to add value I will support you but if you want to support slavery, I will not support to slavery,” Museveni said.

The President asked all players interested in value addition of coffee sector to stop attacking the savior, but instead join the liberation effort.

“I will meet all those in coffee because out of the US$460Bn from Coffee exports, only share US$25Bn is earned by coffee growing countries. How can we accept this and I call myself president. I am not a clown. It is criminal for anybody to argue for the continued export of raw materials in Africa when there is 90% of value in that product that you are giving outside,” he said.

It should be recalled that on May 18th 2022, Parliament passed a resolution directing Government to cancel the controversial coffee deal signed between Ministry of Finance and Enrica Pinetti the proprietor of Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited (UVCCL).

This followed a report by Parliament’s Trade Committee that recommended for the cancelation of the deal after observing that there were  violations of the various laws as highlighted above, specifically Articles 2, 79 and 152 of the Constitution of Uganda,  sections 4 (1), 7(1), 19 and 21 of the Income Tax Act Cap 340,  sections 4 and 5 of the Value Added Tax Act Cap 349,  Section 4 (1) of the Excise Duty Act, 2014,  section 7 of the National Social Security Fund Act Cap 222, sections 54 and 59 of the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act Cap 66; and  section 80 of the Local Government Act Cap 243.

“The Government is directed to terminate this Agreement and report to Parliament, within 6 months from the date of adoption of this report. Upon termination, the Government should regularize its relationship with UVCCL through proper due diligence, due process and proper stakeholder consultation before any further business can proceed. Thus initiating fresh negotiations” the report read in part.

Parliament also recommended to Government to extend appropriate incentives to the already existing 47 local companies that are doing value addition in coffee sector; fast track the capitalisation of Uganda Development Corporation to the enable it invest in soluble coffee plants to meet the international market demands.

It should also be recalled that before Government gifted the lucrative coffee deal, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Finance had signed a Shs1.3Trn deal for the construction of the International Specialised Hospital, where Government agreed to issue promissory notes.

Although Pinetti had promised to deliver on the project within two years from approval of the loan in 2019, Ministry of Health that was overseeing the construction works informed Parliament that all the two contractors had abandoned the site, forcing the works to come on halt.

 

 

 

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