The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, has expressed concern over the delay by Government to provide coffee seedlings to farmers.
Tayebwa who looked visibly not happy told the state minister of finance, Amos Lugoolobi, during the plenary that God is not going to change seasons because the Ministry is still verifying the Parish Development Models (PDM) SACCOs, through which the Ministry plans to channel the money for the seedlings.
“This is a planting season and the rains are not going to wait for you. God is not going to change the seasons because the Ministry of Finance is still verifying the PDM SACCOs. Whatever Hon. Minister you are telling us right now, is not helping us at all,” Tayebwa told Lugoolobi.
This was after several MPs complained about the slow pace at which the Ministry of Finance is resolving the problem of supplying coffee seedlings.
Lugoolobi explaining the delay informed the House that the money for seedlings was repurposed and sent through PDM.
However, he said some of the SACCOs through which the money is going to be channelled are ready and only await verification.
“We are going to send the money through the SACCOs. Some of the SACCOs have already been registered and only waiting for verification to ensure that the members are the ones supposed to benefit,” he said.
This, however, angered Tayebwa who insisted that the Minister provides a better explanation because the planting season has already started and the nursery operators want a commitment from Government to supply the seedlings on credit.
Kabula MP Enos Asiimwe asked the Minister to commit to paying the nursery operators to allow them to supply the seedlings on credit.
Government through Uganda Coffee Development Authority has been buying and supplying farmers with coffee seedlings.
The Operators signed an agreement with UCDA to supply the seedlings for three years. The certificates are renewable.
However, the government this time round, cut off the funds and channelled it through the Parish Development Model.
“That Parish Development Model programme has not yet even started. So, what happens to the seedlings that are growing day and night?” Tayebwa asked.
Last month the MPs, however, put pressure on the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija, to provide funds for the seedlings, saying the season was about to end.
Briefing the House on the matter, Kasaija instead said there was no money to purchase the seedlings for the farmers, but said the Government has instructed nursery operators for coffee and tea seedlings to give out the seedlings to farmers across the country on credit, saying they will be paid in instalments, in a space of two to three years.
Kasaija told the MPs that following the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, during the financial year 2021/2022, the Government faced shortfalls in revenue collections which necessitated budget suppressions, to accommodate various urgent government expenditures.
He noted that the budget suppressions affected other equally important sectors, whose funding was affected.
“It is expected of the accounting officers to prioritize the funding for the coffee and tea seedlings with the released resources and work plans,” Kasaija told the MPs.