Coffee seedlings dealers ask Museveni to intervene in Shs48bn overdue payment

Agriculture
Coffee seedlings dealers ask Museveni to intervene in Shs48bn overdue payment
Coffee seedlings dealers make their claims on Friday

By Joseph Ssegawa

Coffee seedlings dealers have asked President Museveni to intervene in their payment woes after the government defaulted on Shs48 billion they are owed since 2021.

The seedlings dealers, under their umbrella association, Devoted Coffee Farmers Initiative Uganda, say they have been supplying various government programmes, especially the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), since 2021.

The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) admitted that the seedlings dealers were contracted by they government, but all payments were due the Ministry of Finance.

While addressing journalists in Kampala on Friday, the coffee seedlings dealers from different parts of the country said they have not been paid since 2021.

"We're are worried about the government's will to pay our money, we're now going to petition the President," they said.

They claimed that they have petitioned the Parliament in the past.

"Parliament ordered the Ministry of Finance to pay us, but we think ministry is dodging us," Mr Joseph Ssebatta, one of the affected seedlings dealers, said.

"We have even loans, we are struggling now yet we worked for the money," added Ssebatta, who also leads coffee seedlings dealers in Greater Masaka

He said even banks have impounded their properties.

"I have spent two weeks in Kampala, my family is struggling now, and the children are not studying due to lack of money," Mr Ssebatta said.

Junior finance minister Henry Musasizi acknowledged that the ministry was aware of the debt owned to the seedlings operators.

He said they were still reviewing their matter and would proceed with payments in due course.

"The ministry was instructed by Parliament to pay all nursery operators but their matter is still under review, but anytime from now they will be paid," he said.

Musasizi by the time Parliament ordered them to pay the farmers, the ministry had no money.

"We had other priorities weighing us down and we did not have enough funds to pay them but from today and onwards they are going to be paid," he added.

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