Masaka Municipality leaders have petitioned the National Forestry Authority (NFA) to allow them continue with the construction of a pig slaughter house in a gazetted forest reserve.
Mr Martin Lukwago, the chief administrative officer, says they have moved to secure a memorandum of understanding (MoU) from NFA, seeking to allow them go on with construction of the modern pork abattoir.
“We had a meeting with NFA and we found out that indeed the land still belongs to them, the process of degazettement upon which we stood to start the construction works was not completed. So we have decided to sign an agreement with them to legalise our occupancy and allow the project to move on,” Mr Lukwago said in an interview last Friday.
In April this year, NFA halted construction of the slaughter house, claiming that it was encroaching on Kumbu North Forest Reserve.
Although, Mr Jude Mbabaali, the district chairperson wanted to tussle it out in court, Mr Lukwago maintained that signing an MoU with NFA is the only option.
“The speed at which laws concerning environment are enacted, it is currently very hard to embark on degazettement of a forest than securing an MOU,” he revealed.
Daily Monitor has established that part of the land where the district want to erect a pork abattoir was gazetted as a forest reserve in 1938 and the district tried to degazatte it in 1985 and convert it into an industrial area, a process which was not completed.
However, Mr Denis Sebugwawo, the NFA manager for Sango Bay Range, says an MoU can only be achieved with the approval of the NFA executive director.
“It is now hard to tell its [MoU] terms and which guidelines to be followed until the whole process is completed with the ED,” Mr Sebugwawo said.