Members of Parliament have raised concern over foreign nationals illegally excavating sand for exportation and commercial purposes.
During the plenary session on Thursday, 18th August 2016, Hon. Joseph Ssewungu (Kalungu West) said that foreigners, under the guise of being investors, excavate sand and sell it both locally and internationally.
“Sand excavation impacts negatively on the environment and the eco-system of fish because their breeding grounds are in the sand,” Ssewungu said.
Honourable Florence Namayanja (Bukoto East) said, “There are Chinese who have been excavating sand from Lwera on the Masaka highway with no environmental impact assessment carried out.”
The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Vincent Ssempijja (Kalungu West), said construction works have increased so most of the people who have been excavating sand from Entebbe have now relocated to Lwera.
“As the ministry, we cannot stop people from getting sand from wetlands because it is not our mandate. The best that we can do is simply stop people from excavating from the lakes,” Ssempijja said.
Hon. Babirye Kabanda reported that Chinese in Lwera are excavating the sand and taking it away.
“These people should be investigated because what they are doing is illegal,” Kabanda said.
Hon. Gaster Mugoya (Bukooli North) informed the House that some Chinese firms have sought his help in acquiring land in Lwera while some of them already have plots where they are excavating the sand.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, said that what the Chinese are doing was unacceptable.
“The President made it clear that certain jobs should be reserved for Ugandans. How can Chinese come to Uganda to excavate sand to export yet we have Ugandans who can do that?” Kadaga said.
Kadaga added that it is prohibited in the Constitution for sand to be used commercially and tasked the government to take action on the issue and determine who gave the Chinese permission to excavate sand for export.