Godfrey Komakech, the Hoima District Production and Marketing Secretary who is also a member of the verification committee told Uganda Radio Network on Wednesday that they have suspended the verification exercise because of the COVID19 pandemic.
District local government has suspended the ongoing verification of more than
1,300 tobacco farmers because of the corona virus pandemic. Last year,
President Yoweri Museveni promised to compensate more than 1,300 tobacco
farmers after tobacco buying companies failed to meet their contractual
obligation to pay them.
companies include NIMATIBACK, Continental tobacco and Tropical Leaf Company. The
farmers are demanding over Shillings 2 billion. The President directed
the Ministries of trade and Industries and that of Finance to expedite the
compensation of the affected farmers.
March this year, the President instructed Hoima district authorities to form a
verification committee to verify the farmers for payment by his office. The
most affected farmers are from of Kigorobya, Kitoba, Buhanika, Bombo, Kapapi, Buseruka
and Kyabigambire Sub counties.
Godfrey Komakech, the Hoima District Production
and Marketing Secretary who is also a member of the verification committee told
Uganda Radio Network on Wednesday that they have suspended the verification
exercise because of the COVID19 pandemic. He however, says they had
covered 80 percent of the farmers by the time of the suspension.
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He revealed that during
the verification exercise only those with genuine
documentary evidence in form of receipts were considered for payments by the
office of the president. In January 2019, the Trade Ministry halted the
operations of the three Tobacco Companies in Hoima district for alleged failure
to pay farmers over 2 Billion Shillings for tobacco they supplied between July
and December 2018.
In his January 17th, 2019 letter, the late
Julius B, Onen, the former Trade Ministry Permanent Secretary, said the three
companies had been stopped from transacting any tobacco-related business in
Hoima district until they pay all the farmers.
Through the same
letter, the ministry issued operational licenses
to Alliance One Uganda Tobacco Company, Global Leaf Holdings, Meridian Tobacco
Company and Uganda Tobacco Service to transact business in Hoima district.