The proprietor for Nile Coaches and Alfil Millers Limited has petitioned the government demanding compensation and a stimulus package amidst COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahmed Abdulrahman, a local investor who started Nile Coaches that has plied along West Nile route for over 25 years, has asked the President to fulfill his pending compensation of Shs 1.08 Billion to resuscitate his company that is almost running out of business.
On August 26, 2006, President Yoweri Museveni through the then Attorney General Prof. Kiddu Makubuya, directed that Mr. Abdulrahman be compensated Shs1.2billion for the 8 buses that were burnt by the terrorist group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, along Pakwach-Karuma road between 1994 and 2004. Whereas only Shs120m was paid in June 2009, the balance of Shs 1.08 Billion has remained unpaid up to date despite Museveni’s letter dated September 2009 directing that the money be paid to the local investor.
While meeting the State Minister for Economic Monitoring, Peter Ogwang at their Alfil Millers factory in Kabojja, Abdulrahman appealed to the minister to forward their matter to the president to ensure that the payment is completed in this financial year 2021/22.
“This money can go a long way in injecting some much needed capital into our business during these tough economic times of COVID-19 and save our companies from complete collapse,” Abdulrahman said in his statement.
The Nile Coaches proprietor also requested the government to give them a stimulus package of Shjs10billion to enable them regain a good financial stability, so that they can do business that benefits ordinary jobless Ugandans especially the young people and pay taxes to spur the economy.
Nile Coaches recently started another local grain milling factory- Alfil Millers Limited, the manufacturers and distributors of Tembo wheat flour and both companies employ over 200 workers. The company also pays close to Shs3 Billion every year in taxes.
However, the company has been hit so hard by the pandemic to the extent that Alfil Millers has temporarily halted operations due to shortage of wheat supply, which is imported from Canada, Brazil and other countries. The miller has capacity to produce over 200metric tons of wheat flour in a single day. However, the company cannot operate at full capacity because of limited raw materials. Apparently, a ton of wheat costs about $370 (about Shs1.4m excluding transport cost).
Minister Peter Ogwang promised to raise the company’s concerns to the President urgently. One of the core mandates of the Minister of State for Economic Monitoring is to provide a direct link sector and the President.
“I am going to write and brief the president about these issues raised because that is part of my mandate and some of the issues will be handled with my colleagues at cabinet level,” Ogwang said, adding that the NRM government is committed to supporting investors especially local investors to grow the economy and push the country into a middle income status.
On the stimulus package, Minister Ogwang said that he will be meeting the leadership of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) to discuss how the private sector has been coping-up with the pandemic that will then inform their decision on the stimulus package.
“I know there are several other private companies that are going through the same challenges I have identified here [at Alfill] and I am going to meet the leadership of PSFU so that we can support our investors,” he said. Ogwang added that farmers need to be supported to grow wheat on a large scale so that the huge monies used to import wheat can be reinvested in our own economy.