By: Ben Ssebuguzi
Entebbe: Recently, media was awash with National Environmental and Management Authority (NEMA) allegations that Ruparelia group, an investment group which is the leading in hospitality sector in Uganda, was involved in the abusing of the environment in their bid to construct a mega $100m Speke Resort and Convention Centre At Ssese Gate Way Beach.
According to Mr. Rajiv Ruparelia, the Managing Director of the group, alleges that politicians are blowing up the issue out of proportion with intent to curtail him from executing the project that is meant to employ many youths in the future.
Mr. Rajiv confirms that they did not even enter even an inch of the lake according on their title, but instead, it was the submerging of the lake Victoria that ended up eating their land on the title.
As National Resistance Movement Poor Youth leader and an investment promoter, am very informed about the precious value of environment preservation in the sustainable development of our country, and therefore support the constitutional mandate of NEMA.
However, their modus operandi in their course of duty and management should be done with high degree of civility and diplomacy with all stakeholders like investors.
Confrontation and exposing investors in the media may be detrimental to their reputation which might affect their job creation capabilities and morale hence affecting development.
According to the Environment water Act, this one piece of Uganda sectoral legislation with key provisions to enhance sustainable development, provides for the use, protection and management of water use and supply.
Important aspects in the Act include water rights; planning for water use; control on the use of water resources, water easements and control over water works and water use.
Actually this Act gives the investor rightful use of the lake that doesn’t contradict with the Environment Impact Assessment.
So NEMA should know that investors also work for government just like NEMA does, so by exposing the investor, they expose the weakness of government functions.
It therefore calls for dialogue, negotiation by NEMA to investors so as to achieve the country’s agenda of industrialisation as enshrined in NDP 3.
The facility upon completion will have 350 room resort, 4 restaurants, marine for 50 boats, 10 presidential suites, wedding grounds, etc.
Ben Ssebuguzi is an entrepreneur, economist and Secretary General of Uganda Poor Youth Movement (UPYM).