The Ministry of Tourism Hands Over Revenue Cheques Worth Shillings 2.93 Billions to Districts that Boarder Murchison Falls National park
By Brian Atuhura
The Minister for Tourism Wild Life and Antiquities Hon. Tom Butime yesterday handed over revenue cheques worth shillings 2.93 billions to the six districts that boarder Murchison Fall National Park.
This was at a ceremony held at Masindi Hotel in Masindi Town, Masindi District.
The six districts that received revenue cheques from the Minister among others include; Buliisa District which got highest revenue share of shillings 736.9 millions, followed by Kiryandongo with shillings 680.2 millions, Nywoya got 672.8 million, Packwach got shillings 347.5 millions while Masindi got shillings 283.4 millions and Oyam got shillings 208.8 millions.
The districts received the revenue according to the number of parishes that touch the National Park.
Speaking during the event, Sam Mwandha the Executive Director for Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), revealed that the funds are part of the 20% gate collections that they get from tourists who visit the park and that this money has been generated for the last 3 years.
He explained that money is meant to support communities that neighbor the Park through funding their community projects to improve their livelihoods.
He added that, the communities didn't receive the money for the last 2 years because the economy was hit by COVID 19 pandemic and the tourism sector was also affected financially.
While handing over the revenue cheques, the Minister for Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon. Tom Butime challenged the district leaders to use the money for the intended purpose of improving the livelihoods of communities that are adjacent to the Park.
He requested all Chief Administrative Officers (CAO's) of the districts that have received money from UWA, to make accountabilities of the funds based on the approved project proposals in order to realize value for money and also improve the economic livelihood of the people who boarder the Park.
Speaking during the same event, the District Chairperson Masindi Cosmas Byaruhanga, applauded UWA's efforts in supporting communities adjacent to the Park in improving their livelihoods. He also welcomed the idea where UWA allows communities to formulate projects that will sustain their economic status.
On his part, the Member of Parliament for Buruli County Hon. Aled Akugizibwe asked UWA to recruit more staff to enable them protect the animals in the Park. He also called upon UWA to always compensate families who loose their loved ones due to wildlife attacks.