By Innocent Atuganyira
Tobacco farmers in Hoima and Masindi districts have this morning stormed the office of the Hoima City Woman MP elect Asinasi Nyakato seeking her intervention into the continued delayed compensation by government.
The farmers from different parts of the Hoima district such as Kyabigambire, Buseruka and Kigorobya and some parts of Masindi district by 8am had stormed Nyakoto’s office at Duhaga round about to express their dissatisfaction with the government delay.
The government in November last year unveiled a plan to pay over Uganda Shillings 11billion to more than 1,000 tobacco farmers in Bunyoro sub-region who were denied payments by the tobacco companies that had reportedly contracted them.
The money arose out of the unpaid bill by two Tobacco Companies including Continental Tobacco Company Ltd (7.2 billion) and Nimatabac (U) Ltd (3.97 billion).
But, Parliament in February this year postponed the approval of a Shillings 292billion Supplementary budget request of which the over Sh11bn was for tobacco farmers in Bunyoro.
The decision by the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga to stay the approval of the supplementary budget followed disagreement by MPs in regards to the Shillings 12.1billion request under the Uganda Land Commission -ULC to settle outstanding compensation under the Land Fund to 6 beneficiaries.
Mugenyi Ahamada, the farmers’ leader heading 280 Continental tobacco farmers from Kyabigambire says they have started losing their property to money lenders because they have no money to pay back.
Other farmers say that they are unable to look after their families since they sold whatever they owned. They demanded that the government expedite the compensation process.
In response, Nyakato expressed her sympathy with the farmers and promised to petition the Speaker of Parliament about the matter next week.
The standoff between the tobacco growers has been on for more than six years.
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