Friday May 9 2014

UWA needs Shs107 billion to re-plant trees on Mt Elgon park

By Yasiin Mugerwa

PARLIAMENT- More than Shs107 billion is needed to re-plant trees in degraded areas of the Mt Elgon National Park.

Officials from the conservation agency yesterday told MPs that more than 2,000 hectares of tree cover have been wiped out by increased illegal human activities in the park which sits on the oldest and largest volcanic mountain in East Africa.

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) officials were appearing before the House Tourism, Trade and Industry Committee where they warned that the rate at which the park is losing its forest cover is worrying.

The officials said unless something is done to arrest the situation, the tourism potential there is threatened. “We have a budget of Shs54 billion yet at least Shs107 billion is urgently needed to plant trees in the park; to restore the degraded land in Mount Elgon National Park and Kibale,” said Ms Mirembe Ssenoga, the director finance and administration at UWA.
Every year, the government earns more than Shs2.7 trillion from tourism. Mount Elgon National Park covers an area of 1,279 km² and sits astride the border of Kenya and Uganda

UWA officials also told MPs that an additional Shs20 billion is needed to erect an electric fence around Lake Mburo National Park.

However, Ms Ssenoga who appeared before the Committee together with UWA board members to present their budget for 2014/15, said another Shs1 billion will be needed to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment.