The Minister Without Portfolio, Hajj Abdu Nadduli (C), during a meeting with local leaders at Pabbo Sub-county in Amuru District on Wednesday. PHOTO BY JAMES OWICH 

AMURU- Families in Amuru District who sold part of their forested land to charcoal dealers should refund the money, Hajj Abdu Nadduli, the Minister without Portfolio, has said.
The minister’s remarks follow a recent incident in which leaders in the sub-region chased away charcoal dealers.

“Amuru leaders should ensure that all those affected by the decision are compensated,” Mr Nadduli said.
He was addressing residents of Pabbo Sub-county in Amuru District on Wednesday.

“I would like to see that the money invested in the forest business by the dealers is paid back by residents who received it,” Mr Nadduli noted.
The minister’s directive follows a resolution passed by Amuru District Council on August 2, calling for an immediate suspension of all commercial charcoal business.
The resolution provides for a fine of between Shs2 million and Shs5 million and confiscation of charcoal from anyone who contravenes the council resolution.
It further sets out a five-month jail term for anyone who bans more than five bags of charcoal.
The Amuru District vice chairperson, Mr John Bosco Ocan, urged commercial charcoal dealers in the area to notify his office in case of failure to recover their money.
“We shall engage the families that sold the land so that they payback the money,” he said.

But under their umbrella, Uganda Charcoal Dealers Association, charcoal business operators asked for more time to leave the area.
Mr Abed Lumu, the association secretary, said on Wednesday that they have lost about Shs20 billion in unfinished business in the area.
“The new resolution will greatly affect us. Some of our colleagues are likely to lose their properties which they used as collateral in banks,” Mr Lumu said.
A total of 2,000 bags of charcoal leave the district daily.