The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has earmarked sh4b as part of the 20 percent revenue sharing with the communities surrounding Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
UWA Executive Director Sam Mwandha revealed this earlier today while appearing before the select parliament committee investigating the Apaa land conflict.
“We have earmarked sh4b that we plan to share with the communities in Bwindi as part of the revenue sharing. We have written to the Minister to allow us release the money to the beneficiaries,” Mwandha said.
Adding that, “The money was a mandatory 20 per cent revenue sharing agreement with the neighbouring communities and local governments as prescribed in law.”
Africa Tembelea also learnt that the money will be used to finance the implementation of conservation projects identified in the four districts surrounding Bwindi Forest.
The money from the revenue sharing is sent by UWA to the districts who keep 5% to cover administration costs and pass the remaining 95% on to the parishes for the agreed projects.
Before the wildlife statute which later became the Wildlife Act 200 of 2000, communities neighbouring the National parks were not benefiting from park revenues.
However, the policy was changed and guidelines formulated on who should receive the money and how to invest it.
“When we developed the guidelines, we started sending the money to the districts for accountability and monitoring purposes. For Bwindi we have agreed the money goes to counties to support projects that directly benefit the communities,” Mwandha said.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park gazetted in 1992, is situated in south western Uganda on the edge of the western rift valley (Albertine rift) and is shared by Kanungu, Kabale, Rubanda and Kisoro districts. It is 331 square kilometres in size; on an altitude range of 1,160 metres (Ishasha gorge) to 2,607 metres (Rwamanyonyi peak).