UWA wants helicopter, fixed wing plane in shs 66.5 bn Budget

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PARLIAMENT:
Officials from the Uganda Wild Life Authority on Monday appeared before parliament’s committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry to present their budget projections for the 2017-2018 financial year worth shs 66.5 billion.

Led by Dr Andrew Seguya, the Authority’s Executive Director, they said that budget estimates contained in ministerial policy statement were hinged on improving services in Uganda’s tourism sector with a peculiar interest in appealing to the domestic market.

“UWA shall continue to participate in national, regional and international exhibitions in joint partnership with Uganda Tourism Board and the Private Sector to showcase Uganda’s nature-based tourism potential,” he said.

The Authority also wants to improve conservation levels through increased surveillance and monitoring of Uganda’s protected areas in the bid to reduce human encroachment on its land while at the same time, fighting poaching.

To achieve this, UWA needs the approval of shs 14.2 bn for the purchase of two air crafts (a helicopter and fixed wing plane) as well as two drones to aid its routine activities and ensuring conservation.

The money, if approved will be shared as shs 14bn for the aircrafts and shs 200 million for the drones.

“The planes will be used for aerial surveillance of the protected areas, animal counts, emergency rescue and de-herding problem animal, while the drones will be used for aerial surveillance and intelligence information,” he said.

If this is done Dr Seguya said that poaching which mainly targets buffalos, rhinos and elephants will significantly decline, and thus, conservation.

“In the last financial year alone we have impounded over 5 tonnes of ivory, an implication of the grave malpractices by our people and thus the need to increase surveillance and monitoring,” said Seguya.

He also told the committee Chaired by Bulamogi County MP, Kenneth Lubogo (NRM) that they were considering carrying out an animal census for a detailed inventory regarding Uganda’s animal and bird’s species with a view to updating the current species.
“UWA shall carry out surveys and inventories of key wildlife resources through aerial and ground surveys in and outside protected areas and outside protected areas and the generated data will be used in the generation of wildlife reports,” said Seguya.

Shs 1 million is committed to the surveys which will primarily take place in Pian upe Wildlife Reserve, Matheniko Bokora Wild Reserve, Tooro Semuliki Reserve and Semuliki National Park, “to provide animal inventory and distribution patterns.”

The Authority also ear-marked another shs 800 million to fight invasive weeds in Katonga Wild Life Reserve, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls and Lake Mbuuro National Parks.
The weed is largely blamed on a decline in the elephant population from 30,000 in the 1980s to the current number which is about 15,000.

However, the committee learnt that most of the items about 52 per cent including the helicopter, winged plane and drones and several others, all valued at shs 36.5 billion are the unfunded.
Others include, canopy walks in Sebitoli-Kibale valued at shs 5 bn, Luxury Houseboats at Murchison Falls National Park (shs 7bn), a Roads Unit valued at shs 4.5 bn, construction of bridges, and valley dams among others.

Meanwhile, Ms Rosemary Nauwat (NRM-Amudat) cautioned the Authority against venturing into cross-cutting budget lines with other sectors.

She mainly pointed out the issue of roads unit and bridges which she suspects are captured by the ministry of works and transport.

Mr Lubogo, the committee chair said that UWA which relies on internally generated resources must be in a position to allocate such resources within its means.
Although the Authority has expenditure demands of shs 66.5 billion, it has got equal target proposals broken down as follows.

ITEM

COST (Shs)

Helicopter & Fixed Wing Plane

14 bn

Two Drones

0.2 bn

Canopy Walk

5 bn

Luxury Hosue Boats

7 bn

Bridge at Murchison Falls

0.2 bn

Electric Fencing

0.6 bn

Cable Car Project

1 bn

Road Unit

4.5 bn

Valley Dams

2 bn

Automated Revenue Management

2 bn

 

 

TOTAL

36.5 bn

rn rn

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