By Christopher Nyeko
Gulu: Hundreds of people living in Mid-Northern Uganda, Lango, and Acholi subregions are thronging at the National Forestry Authority (NFA) regional office in Gulu city to purchase for themselves sacks of charcoal that are being auctioned.
The auction, which is underway in Gulu City, commenced on November 3, 2023, and is being managed by Intrepid Recovery Associates Limited.
The document seen in this publication indicates that Intrepid Recovery Associates Limited signed a contract with NFA on October 6, 2023, to auction a total of 5,326 bags of charcoal that were seized from various checkpoints in Amuru, Pader, and Gulu districts at the time of their transportation to Uganda’s capital Kampala between June and July this year from illegal commercial charcoal dealers.
They were impounded by presidential executive order number 3 of 2023, which banned the illegal production and transportation of charcoal and any other forest products from Northern Uganda.
Robert Balinda Akankwasa, the auctioneer from M/S Intrepid Recovery Associates Ltd., told journalists on Monday, November 6, 2023, during the press conference held at the NFA regional office in Gulu City that they had already auctioned a total of about 1,000 bags of charcoal out of the 5,326 sacks presented to them for auctioning upon formularizing themselves with guidelines from the NFA during the orientation to the business site.
He noted that the quality of the charcoal has gone low due to the bad weather it was exposed to for the past three months since its impoundment.
Johan Girabo, the NFA Range Manager for Aswa Region, said in an earlier interview that the process of acquiring the auctioneer was too long, which left them with no option until they were issued a warranty of sale by the Gulu Chief Magistrates Court, which legitimized their processes of the auction.
According to Akankwasa, their term of contact with NFA stipulates that they are to auction each sack at 25,000 shillings, and their potential buyers are required to make a complete payment of 100 percent before they are given their charcoal. Revealing that after auctioning, the firm is taking 3 percent of the total sales.
At the auction today, a number of people, mostly people in petty businesses selling charcoal by the roadside in Tin and residents of Gulu City, were seen re-bagging for themselves and doing transactions for the charcoal, of which the majority stated that they were purchasing for their domestic uses and small-scale businesses as well.
Peninah Lamunu, aged 80, a resident of Lacan-kwite in Bardege-Layibi, praised the NFA for auctioning the charcoal at an affordable price. noticing that she always struggles to get charcoal, and once she gets it, it is always sold to her at an expensive price ranging from 35,000 to 45,000 shillings per sack.
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