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Govt reverses controversial coffee deal with Italian investor Pinetti after backslash

Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Ltd was recently awarded exclusive rights to buy Uganda’s coffee—sparking a public condemnation (PHOTO /Courtesy)

KAMPALA —Government has blocked the controversial coffee agreement with Uganda Vinci coffee company after a backslash, a top official has disclosed on Friday.

This after members of public and Parliament called in Uganda, Africa’s biggest coffee exporter, called for the cancellation of a government deal that gave a single company exclusive rights to buy the country’s coffee and was seen as being unfair for local exporters.

Parliament had set up a a committee probe the “controversial” February agreement with Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Ltd. over the terms.

It has now emerged that government has set up a ministerial committee comprising of energy ministry, agriculture, Attorney General, Ministry of Finance among others to review the agreement on Tuesday next week.

The agreement in question was signed on 10 February 2022, amending an earlier agreement signed on 29 April 2015 and the accompanying addenda signed on 21 December 2015 and 17 October 2017. The amendment gives Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited a monopoly over the purchase and export of coffee from Ugandan farmers.

The company was also given a 10 year tax holiday as well as a subsidized power tariff of five cents per unit of power for 10 years. The MPs wondered why neither the Attorney General nor the Solicitor General was involved in the signing of the agreement.

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