Following the controversy brewing around the multi-billion Vince Coffee deal, Former Minister of Agriculture Victoria Ssekitoleko has said that if she was still the Minister she would never align the said deal to anything.
Tourism and Industry has summoned individuals and entities who endorsed on controversial coffee deal to explain their role in the agreement government signed with Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Ltd (UVCC), a private company that was granted exclusive rights to sell and market Ugandan coffee on the international market last week.
However, the agreement between the government and Vinci Coffee Company Limited went public and many people in the coffee sector have since rejected the deal.
The controversial coffee deal entails of the Investor getting exclusive rights to buy all of Uganda’s coffee, exemption from paying all taxes (income, PAYE, Excise Duty, Stamp Duty, VAT, Import Duty and corporate income tax.) and ends in 2032 with subject to renewal.
“If I was still the minister of Agriculture, I would not align this deal to anything. During my time, we used to receive information in hard copies. If they brought this deal to my table, I would tear it and throw it away,” said Ssekitoleko.
She further added that if she was still heading the Agricultural Ministry she would have advised the coffee stakeholders to ignore the deal.
“This Coffee deal is nothing to me. If I was still the Minister of Agriculture I would tell farmers to plant their coffee and keep quiet. If you are in the coffee sector, ignore this deal,” said Ssekitoleko.
She also advised young people to join the coffee business.
“I am asking you young people to join the coffee business because you speak the language. You can sell your coffee digitally,” she said.
Early this week, The Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry also summoned individuals and entities who endorsed on controversial coffee deal to explain their role in the agreement government signed with Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Ltd (UVCC).
Mr Kasaija is said to have signed the deal on behalf of the government while Mr Ggoobi is alleged to have witnessed the signing of the controversial deal in February. Ms Pinetti signed on behalf of UVCC.
Others are the Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka, Trade minister Francis Mwebesa, Agriculture minister Frank Tumwebaze, and the Solicitor General.
Uganda Coffee Development Authority, Uganda Coffee Federation, Uganda Coffee Quality Traders’ Association, Uganda Coffee Traders’ Alliance, large scale coffee farmers, Kawacom, UGACOF, ESCO, OLAM and several others were also included on the list and are expected to appear before the committee on April 25 and April 26.
The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, instructed the Trade committee to probe the controversial coffee deal last week though it is not clear as to when the committee will report back to Parliament.