Investors in Namanve industrial park have protested an order by the National Environment Management Authority-NEMA to demolish structures established in wetlands.
NEMA instructed several investors to raze down structures and restore the destroyed areas of wetlands, an order which, according to the Authority’s deputy spokesperson, Tonny Acidri is in implementation of instructions issued in September 2021 under the guidance of the National Environment (Wetlands, River Banks and Lake Shores Management) Regulations 2003.
The National Environment Regulations on wetlands, river banks and lake shores empower NEMA to ensure that wetland resources are utilized in a sustainable manner compatible with their continued presence, hydrological functions and service. The regulation principles necessitate mandatory environmental impact assessment for all activities in wetlands likely to hurt the wetland as required under the statute.
Acidri notes that several developers did not follow procedures for building in wetlands and are required to restore and vacate the sites.
However, the investors say that they followed the right procedures in acquiring plots of land from the Uganda Investment Authority which they believe conducted an environmental impact assessment.
Nicholas Byengooma, the CEO of Nicontra Limited, an engineering company says he secured the said land 10 years ago and that the premises have been inspected by NEMA without any red flags. However, he received an order to vacate after completing construction and importing machinery.
Prudence Ukkonika, the CEO of K Roma Limited says that they have spent millions of Shillings to develop the land under the watch of the environment watchdog.
State Minister for Investment and Privatization, Evelyn Anite says Namanve ndustrial park is an industrial park gazetted 30 years ago. She adds that the government undertook a new feasibility study to assist in stopping flooding within the park and the construction of drainages is undergoing to create proper water flow.
Anite appeals to NEMA to always focus on their role of making an individual assessment of investors on matters of the environment but not allocation of land. She says NEMA is not allowed to allocate or withdraw land from any investor.