Officials from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) on Monday 13th June 2022, handed over three dummy cheques worth 3.38 billion shillings to the district local governments of Rubanda, Kisoro, and Kanungu, as part of their revenue sharing from the Bwindi-Mgahinga Impenetrable National Parks.
The function was held today at the Volcano hotel in Rubanda town council in Rubanda district and was attended by officials from UWA, respective district chairpersons, chief administrative officers, resident district commissioners, and others. Rubanda district received 802 million shillings; Kisoro district received 509 million shillings, while Kanungu district received the biggest share of 1.79 billion shillings.
The Acting Executive Director of Uganda Wild Life Authority, John Makombo, said that the fund is part of the revenue that was generated from Bwindi-Mgahinga Impenetrable National Park, from the financial years 2019/2020 and 2021/2022. He added that Kisoro district will receive 280 million shillings as an additional revenue share fund from Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
The Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon. Rtd. Col. Tom Butime, said that funds were reduced by 1.09 billion shillings, which translates into a 24 percent loss compared to the years 2017/2018 and 2018/2019, when they disbursed a total of 4.47 billion shillings. Butime said that the decline resulted from the closure of tourism in April 2020, which reopened in September 2020, but even after reopening, tourists didn’t turn up immediately during the peak season of September when high revenues were expected.
He said that unlike the past, the revenue sharing fund is now a conditional grant for which local governments are required to show accountability to UWA after the implementation of the various projects, adding that the liberty to use revenue sharing funds in any way that some district officials may wish is no more. He directed the Chief Administrative Officer to ensure that the money disbursed today reaches the sub counties and communities in time.
The Rubanda District Chairperson, Steven Ampeire Kasyaba, on behalf of the district local governments, commended the government through UWA for giving them their share. He added that the money will benefit the areas that surround the park by identifying the proper projects that will show value for money and pledged a total commitment to ensure that the money serves its purpose. He also stated that the funds will be used to improve people’s services.