OP-ED: NEMA Should Use Diplomacy on Investors

Mr. Rajiv Ruparelia speaks to the press recently about the development of Multibillion Entebbe Speke Resort Hotel

Recently, media was awash with NEMA allegations that Ruparelia group, an investment group which is the leading in the hospitality sector in Uganda, was involved in the abusing of the environment in their bid to construct a mega $100m Speke resort and convention centre at Ssese gateway beach.

According to Mr. Rajiv Ruparelia, the MD of the group, politicians are blowing up the issue out of proportion with the intent to curtail him from executing the project that is meant to employ many youths in the future.

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Mr. Rajiv confirms that they didn’t enter even an inch of the lake according to their title, but instead, it was the submerging of Lake Victoria that ended up eating their land on the title.

As NRM poor youth leader and an investment promoter, am very informed about the precious value of environmental preservation in the sustainable development of our country, and therefore support the constitutional mandate of NEMA, however, their modus operandi in their course of duty and management should be done with a high degree of civility and diplomacy with all stakeholders like investors. Confrontation and exposing investors in the media may be detrimental to their reputation which might affect their job-creation capabilities and morale hence affecting development.

According to the Environment water Act, this is one piece of Uganda’s sectoral legislation with key provisions to enhance sustainable development. It provides for the use, protection, and management of water use and supply. Important aspects in the Act include water rights; planning for water use; control on the use of water resources, water easements, and control over waterworks and water use.

Actually, this Act gives the investor rightful use of the lake that doesn’t contradict the Environment Impact Assessment. So NEMA should know that investors also work for the government just like NEMA does, so by exposing the investor, they expose the weakness of government functions. It, therefore, calls for dialogue, negotiation by NEMA to investors so as to achieve the country’s agenda of industrialization as enshrined in NDP 3.

The facility upon completion will have a 350 room resort, 4 restaurants, a marine for 50 boats,10 presidential suites, wedding grounds, etc.

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Ben Ssebuguzi is an entrepreneur, economist, and Secretary-General of Uganda poor youth movement.


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