A group of local investors have petitioned Investment minister Evelyn Anite, accusing some officials in Mukono District of blocking a $15 million (Shs53.3b) tourism project.
Ms Anite said the investors led by proprietors of Paradise and Wildness Resort, petitioned her office last week, complaining about lack of cooperation from district officials.
They singled out the district engineer, Mr Herbert Lutwama, labelling him “a stumbling block” in the planned multi-billion eco-tourism investment project in Makusu Island, Mpatta Sub-county.
“Can you imagine investors are begging one of the district officials in Mukono to approve their plans for a major tourism project that is going to create hundreds of jobs for our people,” Ms Anite wondered.
“This is unacceptable. If there are any issues in the submitted plans, let those matters be resolved without any delays. Investments must be approved without delays. How can we achieve the middle income status when some people are busy blocking investments?” she added.
Eco-tourism caters for tourists who wish to invest in the natural environment without damaging its habitat. The petitioners sought to increase wildlife in the country and attract more investors. They also wanted to establish a resort that will employ 1,200 people, including wild life scouts, chefs, housekeepers, guides, gardeners, life-savers, instructors, and security teams.
Mr Monde Kimbugwe, the chairperson for the land committee in Mpatta Sub-county, said: “We don’t want to miss out on such projects because they lead to improved infrastructure, electricity connections and mushroom businesses.”
When contacted, Mr Lutwama denied the accusations raised against him.
“We have not refused to approve the project but we want the right things to be done and the projects must comply with the Building Act of 2013, with National Environment Management Authority Act 2019, Regulations of 2020 and in compliance with Physical Planning Act 2010,” he said.
The engineer also accused the applicants of planning to construct permanent structures in the lake.
Ms Anite said she would request Uganda Investment Authority to work with the Ministry of Local Government and the authorities in Mukono District to have the matter resolved.
“We have not refused to approve the project but we want the right things to be done and the projects must comply with the Building Act of 2013, National Environment Management Authority Act 2019, Regulations of 2020 and in compliance with Physical Planning Act 2010,” Mr Herbert Lutwama, Mukono District engineer