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NFA Auctions 5,326 Bags of Impounded Charcoal :: Uganda Radionetwork
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NFA Auctions 5,326 Bags of Impounded Charcoal

Robert Balinda Akankwasa of M/S Intrepid Recovery Associates Ltd announced that they had reached an agreement with NFA to auction the charcoal through public auctioning, with each bag being priced at Shillings 25,000. The auctioneer will receive 3% of the total sales and 900,000 Shillings for media advertising expenses after the final sale.
Bags of charcoal being auctioned at NFA office in Gulu. Photo by Emmy Daniel Ojara

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The National Forestry Authority (NFA) in the Aswa range has initiated the auctioning of more than 5,326 bags of charcoal that were seized from illegal dealers in the Acholi sub-region. The Gulu Chief Magistrates Court ordered their disposal through a public auction. However, since the court ruling, the sacks of charcoal stored at the NFA Gulu City offices were deteriorating, with several sacks torn.

John Giribo, the Aswa River Range Manager, had previously explained that the delayed auctioning was due to the lengthy procurement processes for an auctioneer. However, on Monday, NFA finally commenced the auctioning process through the services of Kampala-based M/S Intrepid Recovery Associates Ltd under stringent measures. 

Robert Balinda Akankwasa of M/S Intrepid Recovery Associates Ltd announced that they had reached an agreement with NFA to auction the charcoal through public auctioning, with each bag being priced at Shillings 25,000.  The auctioneer will receive 3% of the total sales and nine hundred shillings for media advertising expenses after the final sale. Some conditions specify that the charcoal should only be consumed within 17 districts of the Acholi and Lango sub-regions.     

//Cue in: ‘’The auctioneer gets…  

Cue out: …the northern region.’’//   

These districts include Gulu City, Gulu District, Pader, Nwoya, Omoro, Amuru, Dokolo, Lira, Lamwo, Kitgum, Agago, Oyam, Kwania, Kole, Apac, Amolatar, Alebtong, and Otuke. The contract agreement, signed between NFA and M/S Intrepid Recovery Associates Ltd on 3rd October 2023, was endorsed by the Executive Director of NFA, Tom Okello Obong. 

Some buyers expressed satisfaction with the opportunity, considering the impoundment as a blessing in disguise since they can acquire charcoal at a more affordable rate through the auction compared to other sources. NFA had previously noted its efforts to combat the charcoal trade in the sub-region but cited limited facilitation as a challenge, which hindered its operations to monitor areas being degraded for charcoal production.

They reported that over 50 suspects have been arrested and charged in connection to the illegal charcoal trade in the past months since the implementation of Executive Order No. 3 began in May in the districts of Amuru and Gulu. In May this year, President Museveni signed Executive Order No. 3, which prohibited tree cutting for commercial charcoal production in Northern and Northeastern Uganda. 

The President attributed the rise in the charcoal trade to corrupt elements in security forces and officials responsible for the Environment and National Forestry Authority (NFA). The Acholi sub-region has witnessed a significant decline in forest cover over the years, primarily due to the increasing demand for charcoal and timber. 

According to the Global Forest Watch report, Gulu district alone lost 38.7kha of tree cover, representing a 6.2 percent decrease from 2001 to 2021, with the majority of the forest cover being destroyed for charcoal production and timber.

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