23 March 2006

Uganda: NFA Gets Shs3m From Timber Auction

Kampala — THE National Forest Authority has realised Shs31 million from the expected Shs62.2 from the March timber auction.

The auction took place on March 15, at NFA head offices in Nakawa Division, Kampala.

"Following the public auctioning of illegal timber and charcoal, NFA has relealised only Shs31 million from the timber and charcoal auction as opposed Shs62.2million earlier expected," NFA Public Relations Manager Gasta Kiyingi said.

About 100 lots of timber from different tree species were auctioned. He said the unexpected fall was because of few buyers who turned up most of whom have not paid up, and the proliferation of illegal cheaper timber in the country.

This month's auction is the 24th in a row since the practice started. In February, NFA made shs72 million after selling over 200 tonnes of timber.

However, on average the authority bags about Shs50 million from every auction, according to Kiyingi.

He said proceeds from the auction are used to finance the Authority's operations and replanting harvested areas.

Timber auctioning in NFA started two years ago when NFA was formed as a legal institution to carry out forest related activities.

Quoting from the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act 2003, Kinyigi said the purpose of auctioning is to dispose off what has been confiscated from the public. "It is by law that any confiscated government property be publicly auctioned" he said adding that NFA auctions timber so that the public does not think they have selfish interest on the timber.

The rise in illegal timber business is said to result from President Y.K. Museveni's directive in the just concluded presidential and parliamentary campaigns that the NFA should halt its operations on the evacuation of forest invaders and legal timber dealers.

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