Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) on July 13, 2022, handed over 3,108,539,741 (three billion one hundred eight million five hundred thirty-nine thousand seven hundred forty-one only) earned from visitors in Queen Elizabeth Protected Area, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Kibale National Park, Semuliki National Park, and Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.
The revenue cheques were handed over at a function presided over by the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Rtd. Col. Tom Butime in Kasese town, in the presence of the leaders of the thirteen districts that surround protected areas, UWA Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Panta Kasoma, and Executive Director Sam Mwandha.
Hon. Butime thanked the districts that ensured the previous resources were put to good use to benefit the communities in their respective districts. “Some of this money is still visible on the ground in form of infrastructure and other forms of projects. I have also been informed though that projects in certain areas have to date stalled and some of the sub-counties failed to account in the time leading to failure to receive funds during the previous years. I hope that the funds disbursed today will not get wasted,” he said. He explained that unlike in the past, the revenue sharing fund is now a conditional grant for which the District Local Governments are required to make accountability to UWA after the implementation of the various projects. The implication was that districts that will fail the accountability test will not be given subsequent funds.
Executive Director UWA Sam Mwandha thanked the district political leaders and the technical staff for their enormous support rendered to the institution in mobilizing the community for conservation purposes. “We will continue to rely on their cooperation to realize the conservation objectives,” he said.
The Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Panta Kasoma noted that the district leaders have a good working relationship with field staff in QECA and KCA. “The good working relationship has enhanced information sharing that has contributed to better protection of the seven protected areas. I wish to thank you and let you know that UWA has high hopes that this relationship will continue to grow. I also thank the community for their cooperation despite the challenges individual households are faced with in regard to human-wildlife interactions,” he said.
On behalf of the district leaders, District Resident Commissioner Kasese Rtd. Lt. Joe Walusimbi thanked UWA for organizing the engagement meeting and sharing revenue. He said this gesture needs to be applauded and expressed readiness to monitor the implementation of projects so that the intended beneficiaries get it.