NEMA admits they are still many illegal sand miners

The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has admitted that several companies are mining sand around Lake Victoria illegally.

Officials from the environmental watch body told MPs on the Natural Resources committee today that a study done in October 2015 indicated that the said companies were illegally mining sand and have degraded areas surrounding the lake in Mpigi and Kalungu districts.

Some of the companies named include Lukaya Sand Dealers Company, owned by Sun Xianzhong and Zheng Junqing, Chinese nationals, whose permit was cancelled for non-compliance in October 2015.

In October and November 2015, NEMA also cancelled the permits of Tesco Industries Limited, owned by businessman Drake Lubega; Aqua World Limited and Sim Construction Limited owned by Pastor Samuel Kakande; Capital Estates owned by John Ssebalamu; He Sha Duo Company Limited and Zhong Industries.

Dr. Jerome Sebadduka from NEMA says there have been several enforcement operations in Lwera wetland, which has prompted many of the companies to comply eventually.

Dr. Tom Okurut, Executive Director NEMA admits that several companies have blatantly failed to comply with guidelines on their permits. He says the lack of adequate staff to monitor these activities has hampered their operations.
However, legislators, including Syda Bbumba and Alex Byarugaba, accused NEMA of laxity in its watchdog role on protection of wetlands in the country.

Okurut, in response, shifted blame on the local governments which are mandated to monitor any activities in wetlands.
NEMA says plans are underway to draft guidelines to regulate sand mining activities in wetlands.



Chinese embassy donates 200 smartphones, motorcycles to police

By Robert Ssegawa

The Chinese embassy has on Monday donated a number of equipment worth millions of shillings to help police in their work.

The equipment included 200 Huawei smartphones, 10 motorcycles, mattresses, laptops and balls.

Speaking during the handover ceremony, the Chinese ambassador to Uganda Zhao Yali said for investment to flourish in any country, peace has to be at the forefront.

Yali applauded the police force for their efforts to ensure peace and stability which he said has enabled Chinese companies invests in Uganda.

He said he would encourage Chinese companies to contribute to Uganda’s development through investment.

The IGP Gen. Kale Kayihura applauded the Chinese ambassador for his efforts to bolster the relationship between the 2 countries.