By Allan Kalangi
Two environmental and human rights organisations in Uganda have petitioned NCBA Bank to stop financing Hoima Sugar Limited which they claim carries out its activities in a manner that contravenes environmental laws and disregards the rights of the host communities.
The two organisations, National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE)-Friends of the Earth Uganda-and Strategic Response on Environmental Conservation (STREC) presented a petition to NCBA Bank Uganda Limited on 3rd July 2023 signed by 1,678 people directly impacted by Hoima Sugar Limited in the Bugoma Forest area.
In the petition addressed to Mr. Mark Mayobo, the Managing Director of NCBA Bank Uganda Limited, the CSOs and host communities accuse Hoima Sugar Limited’s Kyagwali Mixed Land Use Project of severely threatening the wellbeing and livelihoods of local people in the area.
“The project, which includes a sugarcane plantation along with other infrastructure developments has severely threated the well-being and livelihoods of local communities. The project has also resulted in the deforestation of natural, reserved forest and has violated several Ugandan laws,” the petition to NCBA Bank reads in part.
The petition follows a post by NCBA Bank on Twitter to the effect that it was providing asset financing to Hoima sugar limited enabling it to acquire transport vehicles and graders some of which have been used in degrading Bugoma Forest.
“The Bank’s support of Hoima Sugar links NCBA Bank to the various environmental, social and governance related issues associated with Hoima Sugar’s activities in Bugoma. This asset financing contradicts NCBA Group’s own commitment to “sustainable investment and community growth” the letter signed by Mr. Frank Muramuzi on behalf of NAPE and Cirrus Kabaale on behalf of STREC reads.
The petition was duly received by NCBA and the office of the Chief Executive Officer made a response.
“As part of our commitment to sustainable investment and community growth, we take the issues of environment, sustainability and governance seriously.
We are in conversation with our client, Hoima Sugar Limited and will respond conclusively to your concerns raised,” the response letter signed by NCBA Chief Executive Officer, Mark Muyobo, reads in part.BUGOMA, NAPE, NEMA