Thursday, June 8, 2023
Home News Parliament Asks Govt To Allocate NFA Sh4b For Tree Seedlings

Parliament Asks Govt To Allocate NFA Sh4b For Tree Seedlings

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Mary Karugaba

Parliament has asked the Government for an additional sh4b for the National Forestry Authority (NFA) in the next financial year for the provision of tree seedlings. 

In a report to Parliament, the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources said that in order to restore chunks of forests destroyed through deforestation, the country needs to invest in planting new trees. 

Committee chairperson Emmanuel Otaala said the money will cover a funding shortfall in the restoration of tree and forest cover where only sh3b had been initially provided. 

“The committee recommends that NFA expedites the creation of the National Tree Planting Project which is catered for in the National Development Plan (NDP III),” Otaala said. 

The committee made the recommendations after reviewing the ministerial policy statements and budget estimates for the financial year 2023/24. 

The committee also recommended an allocation of sh30b to the Ministry of Water and Environment to support the restoration of the environment through tree planting. 

“The committee was informed that the ministry requires sh20bn for raising tree seedlings and sh10bn for unpaid certificates for seedlings already supplied. Only sh2bn has been provided for this purpose,” Otaala noted. 

In a minority report of the committee, the Kiboga district woman representative, Christine Kaaya, asked Parliament to appropriate sh10b for the establishment of tree nurseries in sub-counties across the country. 

“Localising tree nurseries at sub-counties will motivate private individuals to engage in commercial forestry and agro-forestry,” said Kaaya. 

Naome Kibaaju (Sheema County North) reiterated the need to avail finances to promote afforestation and re-afforestation efforts in the country. 

“I was recently given tree seedlings to take to my constituency and people picked them up quickly which shows that people have the urge to plant trees,” Kibaaju said. 

The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, urged MPs to establish nursery beds for tree seedlings in their constituencies as part of community corporate social responsibility which would in turn improve forest cover. 

“A nursery bed is not so costly and it becomes easy to transport seedlings within your constituencies. For quality seedlings, we can coordinate with the Minister for Environment to give them to us,” Tayebwa said. 

Pius Wakabi (Bugahya County) said more emphasis should be put on preserving natural forests along with allocating financing for tree planting efforts. 

“If you visited Bugoma Forest right now, it has been totally destroyed. That is why we want the ministry to focus more on protecting the natural forest cover in the country,” Wakabi said. 

The State Minister for Environment, Beatrice Anywar, welcomed the proposal to allocate more funds to improve the country’s forest cover, saying it will go a long way in enabling the availability and distribution of seedlings. 

She added that the concerns about the protection of Bugoma Forest from destruction are being addressed by the government. 

“This matter is a thorn in our flesh and the President has made a directive to the Prime Minister to handle this issue together with the ministry. Let us stand together and save our environment,” Anywar said. 

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