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She is acting in bad faith! Silk production firm dismisses Dr. Musenero’s account in bitter fallout over UGX.43 billion budget row

Science and Innovations Minister Dr. Monica Musenero and Tropical Institute of Development Innovations Executive Director Clet Wandui Masiga in bitter fallout

KAMPALA — The Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI), a private company implementing the government’s national silk production project has given their side of the story—accusing, Dr. Monica Musenero, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations of funning lies against the firm.

Addressing reporters on Wednesday, November 2, Mr. Clet Wandui Masiga, the Executive Director and Sericulture Project Leader dismissed as malicious account by Dr. Musenero that she had suspended funding to their Sericulture project because of misuse of funds.

“This is not true, there is no misuse of funds at all. What is true is that we have disagreed with Hon. Minister on the dangerous direction she was driving the company, staff and the project hence she embarked on a mission of frustration, black mail, criminal activities and eventual suspension of funding without cause,” Mr. Masiga, the principal investigator of TRIDI under the ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations said.

Dr. Musenero who is still in the spotlight over missing COVID-19 cash recently blocked funds meant for the project, saying she needed some time to first study the silk industry and make a review of the innovations being undertaken in the silk sub-sector.

However, Mr. Masiga has dismissed Dr. Musenero version, saying silk project model is guided by the baseline and feasibility study that was conducted in FY2017/2018 which identified 10 entry districts and 40 other districts at project commercialization/expansion stage.

“We are using a Nucleus farmer model approach. This model is a large farm unit (plantation, large-scale farm) which guarantees a certain minimum provision of raw material for a large scale processing plant or other downstream aggregation use, while the other part of the raw material is procured from smaller farmers who are linked throughout grower arrangement to the nucleus,” he said.

Some of the Trainees under the Commercialization of Sericulture Technologies and Innovations Project, executed by the Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI) participating in a silk reeling exercise at a post-cocoon processing factory in Chepsikunya, Kween District (PHOTO/Mercy Scarlet Kigai)

Masiga said the model they’re using combines both small-and large-scale farming and avoids large scale farming but also reduces transport and communication costs.

It requires less land acquisitions and distributes wealth more equitably and ensures availability of raw materials to support agro-industrialization,” he said.

By end of FY2021/2022, he said the project had completed construction of two shells for two research centres in Sheema and Mukono and had supported the establishment and Management of 2000 acres of mulberry in 24 districts which will serve as sources of planting materials to serve 50 districts and as training and research sites.

The project had also acquired additional 800 acres of land for establishment of silk factory and production of mulberry for silkworm rearing.

 

Three more silk reeling and reeling machines were being manufactured and are now ready for shipping from China to Uganda.

“Installation of two modern factories was awaiting funds to be completed. Ten (10) shells for rearing of silk worm were under construction in Mukono, Nwoya, Gomba, Mubende, Kween, Kitagata, Kiruhura, Busitema/Busia, Nakaseke, and Luwero,” he said, accusing Dr. Musenero of acting in bad faith.

Fully installed post-cocoon processing factory in Kween. A similar set up is found in Sheema, too (PHOTO/ Mercy Scarlet Kigai)

“We disagreed with the direction the Hon. Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations Hon. Monica Musenero on dangerous proposals she was making and the Hon. Minister embarked on a mission to frustrate, sabotage and destroy the project, and the staff and the implementing institution, Tropical Institute of Development Innovations,” Mr. Masiga said on Wednesday.

This website understands that when Tropical Institute of Development Innovations disagreed with the Dr. Musenero and sought guidance from the Solicitor General, the Minister responded by suspending the funds and in the process crippling the project.

He also accused the minister of blackmailing the project in the media.

“The Minister after realizing that she had been summoned by the Prime Minister and we have taken her to court for frustration and causing economic waste, she decided to go to the media to black mail us, which is so unfortunate”

Masiga asked the Prime Minister and the solicitor general to help broker truce between them and the minister whose utterances he claims are all false.

“She only needs to understand the design of the project and its objectives.”

Higher-than-expected demand for silk internationally had nudged government to expand its production in the country.

It released money to TRIDI to procure land for the project whose payment was cleared between January and March 2022.

Masiga said the land has never been registered in his name as the minister claims.

“This land is in Kween 100 acres, Nwoya 177 acres, Bulambuli 200 and Kayunga 400 acres.
Any investments before government procured land were done on private land” he said, noting the suspension and withholding of the funds by Dr. Musenero meant to fail the project.

 

The current investment into the silk project had reached UG.X73b.

Masiga says that at this level, funds are needed to Commercialize the Mulberry establishment on 2,000 acres, Finalise procurement of 2300 acres of land in Bulambuli District for Silk Development and clearing the payment of Machines for post coon processing.

Some of the Trainees under the Commercialization of Sericulture Technologies and Innovations Project, Ececuted by the Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI) participating in a silk reeling exercise at a post-cocoon processing factory in Chepsikunya, Kween District. Photo Credit; Mercy Scarlet Kigai.

Some of the Trainees under the Commercialization of Sericulture Technologies and Innovations Project, Ececuted by the Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI) participating in a silk reeling exercise at a post-cocoon processing factory in Chepsikunya, Kween District (PHOTO/Mercy Scarlet Kigai)

The firm also seeks build capacity for silk worm egg production and supply, completing the Silkworm rearing house, the acquisition of post cocoon technologies and the establishment of mulberry plants to take advantage of the coming rain season.

This project target was to create 300,000 jobs.

SEE FULL RESPONSE TO HON. MINISTER FOR SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION ON SUSPENSION OF FUNDING TO SERICULTURE PROJECT

By Clet Wandui Masiga, Executive Director/ Sericulture Project Leader
Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI)

On Monday 31st October 2022, the Uganda media houses published articles suggesting that the Suspension of Funding to Sericulture project implemented by Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI) was due to suspected misuse of funding as reported by the Hon. Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero. This is not true, there is no misuse of funds at all.

What is true is that we have disagreed with Hon. Minister on the dangerous direction she was driving the company, staff and the project hence she embarked on a mission of frustration, black mail, criminal activities and eventual suspension of funding without cause.

The project model is guided by the baseline and feasibility study that was conducted in FY2017/2018 which identified 10 entry districts and 40 other districts at project commercialization/expansion stage. We are using a Nucleus farmer model approach. This model is a large farm unit (plantation, large-scale farm) which guarantees a certain minimum provision of raw material for a large scale processing plant or other downstream aggregation use, while the other part of the raw material is procured from smaller farmers who are linked throughout grower arrangement to the nucleus. In other words, this model combines both small- and large-scale farming and avoids large scale farming and reduces transport and communication costs, requires less land acquisitions and distributes wealth more equitably and ensures availability of raw materials to support agro-industrialization.

By end of FY2021/2022 the project had completed construction of two shells for two research centres in Sheema and Mukono and had supported the establishment and Management of 2000 acres of mulberry in 24 districts which will serve as sources of planting materials to serve 50 districts and as training and research sites. The project had also acquired additional 800 acres of land for establishment of silk factory and production of mulberry for silkworm rearing. Three more silk reeling and reeling machines were being manufactured and are now ready for shipping from China to Uganda. Installation of two modern factories was awaiting funds to be completed. Ten (10) shells for rearing of silk worm were under construction in Mukono, Nwoya, Gomba, Mubende, Kween, Kitagata, Kiruhura, Busitema/Busia, Nakaseke, and Luwero. The project employed a total of 139 full time staff and 1300 casual workers who derive their livelihoods from the project. The project has also recruited graduate trainees to be allocated different project sites to offer technical support. 140 Ugandans are undergoing different trainings to work across the different activities in the silk value chain.

Despite these achievements, the funds appropriated to the project by Parliament and released by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development have not been released to the project since the beginning of this financial year. We disagreed with the direction the Hon. Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations Hon. Monica Musenero on dangerous proposals she was making and the Hon. Minister embarked on a mission to frustrate, sabotage and destroy the project, and the staff and the implementing institution, Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI). We thought for guidance from the Solicitor General and the Hon. Minister responded by suspending the funds. To date we have not yet received the guidance on how to handle the issue. The letter was written on 2nd September 2022 and was received by the same office on 5th September 2022.
This is my minister and a decorated scientist so I expected that when we disagree there is a professional way to handle and settle these issues.
The Minister after realizing that she had been summoned by the Prime Minister and we have taken her to court for frustration and causing economic waste, she decided to go to the media to black mail us, which is so unfortunate.
Since the matters are before court, PM, solicitor general, we believe that the mentioned offices will intervene to settle the issues professionally.
The public should know that the minister’s utterances are all false. She only needs to understand the design of the project and its objectives.
The government gave TRIDI money to procure land for the project whose payment was cleared between January and March 2022 and has never been registered in the names of Clet Masiga. This land is in Kween 100 acres, Nwoya 177 acres, Bulambuli 200 and Kayunga 400 acres.
Any investments before government procured land were done on private land.

The suspension of funds and withholding of the funds since the beginning of the Financial year means that the tender mulberry cannot be maintained, the rearing houses cannot be completed or constructed, training of Ugandans to operate the installed machinery cannot be done, clearing the payment of the machinery whose deposit of 30% has been done cannot be done and there shall be significant losses.

Our current investment into the project is now estimated to be valued at sh73b. The funds are needed to support implementation of planned activities which include Commercialization of mulberry establishment on established 2,000 acres, Finalisation of procurement of 2300 acres of land in Bulambuli District for Silk Development, Clearing the payment of Machines for post coon processing, Building of capacity for silk worm egg production and supply, completing the Silkworm rearing house, the acquisition of post cocoon technologies and the establishment of mulberry plants to take advantage of the coming rain season and continuous management of tender stage of the established mulberry gardens. This project target was to create 300,000 jobs.

The Vision of this project is to generate maximum employment in the silk, silk industry and silk by products industry by attracting new investment and using the latest technology to improve the standard of living of the poor, create jobs, wealth and economic development.

We entered into contractual obligations to use next generation technologies for us to have a global industrial competitiveness that combines our own innovations and foreign technology.

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