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SMEs ask Government to cancel controversial coffee deal

By Rosette Nandutu,

The Federation of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises(FSMES), has asked the Government to cancel the controversial coffee agreement that it recently signed with Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited(UVCC) to establish a coffee processing plant at Namanve industrial park.

The executive director of Federation of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises John Walugembe said Uganda is the leading grower of coffee not because of big investors but because of local Small and Medium Sized Enterprises and farmers who have been working hard to push the industry to where it is now and need to be supported.

Mr. Walugembe said they are concerned claiming that limited consultation was undertaken adding that an agreement in this nature should only be developed after very intense and compressive consultations.

He stated that whereas they welcome foreign investors in the country, they believe that they need to compete fair and square with local industries.

He explained that Uganda is doing well with coffee and there is no need to gamble with the commodity which is one of the leading sources of foreign exchange.

Last week ,the government defended the deal with an Italian investor saying the agreement was sanctioned by the Attorney General and no single law was violated.