The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) could lose some of its properties due to Shs94.3bn arrears owed to coffee nursery operators.
UCDA Managing Director, Emmanuel Iyamulyeme Niyibigira made the revelation on Monday while appearing before Parliament’s Agriculture Committee to present the 2020/2021 national budget framework paper.
Iyamulyeme said that the Authority needs Shs94.3bn to clear accumulated arrears for nursery operators who supplies seedlings to farmers.
He also told the committee that if parliament does not allocate the required funds for clearing this accumulated debt, the owners of the nursery operators who supplied government seedlings would go to court and attach UCDA properties.
Janet Grace Okori-moe (Abim Woman MP) wondered how government is going to implement the project of introducing some crops to areas which have not been growing them when it has an alarming debt for seedlings procurement.
Some MPs like Richard Othieno (West Budama North) asked to have the accrued debt verified by auditors so Parliament gets an authentic figure before final decision is taken, saying the arrears verification process will be critical at ensuring there is no possibility of inflated debt arrears.
However, Iyamulyeme defended the debt saying the arrears had been verified and authenticated by Ernst & Young Auditing firm that had been hired to carry out this exercise by the Ministry of Finance.
UCDA is established as a public Authority and its mandate is to promote and oversee the coffee industry by supporting research, promoting production, controlling the quality and improving the marketing of coffee in order to optimize foreign exchange earnings for the country and payments to the farmers.