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Finance Ministry defends controversial agreement

By Rosette Nandutu

The Ministry of Finance has defended the deal  that government signed with an Italian company  to export Uganda’s coffee.

Government recently signed a deal with Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited  to establish a coffee processing plant at Namanve industrial park where  which Italian businesswoman Enrica Pinetti signed on behalf of the company.

Several members of the public, especially those involved in the coffee sector have since protested against the deal.

Commenting about the matter on Thursday, Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary, Ramathan Ggoobi said the deal was cleared by the Attorney General and was subsequently signed within laws governing the country and that none was broken.

Explaining about the agreement, Ggoobi explained that the agreement will support government in the realization of its coffee production target from the current 7 million bags per year to 20 million bags by 2030.

Ggoobi however warned Ugandans over peddling “lies” about the deal that he said will greatly benefit the country.

The deal which ends in 2032 , subject to renewal,  among others gave the Italian company, Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited , exclusive rights to buy all of Uganda’s coffee  whereas it was also exempted from paying taxes including income tax, pay as you earn, Excise Duty, Stamp Duty, VAT, Import Duty and corporate income tax.