Irked by a plan to construct a dam over the Murchison falls, tourism entrepreneurs in Uganda are planning to dispatch a protest letter to President Yoweri Museveni.
The Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) announced their planned petition during a press conference on Tuesday.
Everest Kayondo the board chairperson AUTO said group will also be writing letters to all responsible authorities.
“We are also writing a letter to ERA about the same matter. We are also writing a letter to the line ministry of tourism and antiquities, prime minister’s office and speaker of parliament”, Kayondo said.
Bonang Power Energy Limited, a South African company recently applied to undertake feasibility studies for setting up a power plant near Murchison Falls in Kiryandongo and Nwoya districts.
Bonanga also claims it intends to construct power plants at Ayago, Uhuru and Kiba all totaling 2550MW.
It is understood however, that the company has never implemented a single major hydropower project, save for a 10mw power plant.
Kayondo says AUTO want a written guarantee from the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) stating that they have abandoned the entire project.
“We are demanding for a written letter telling us that they have abandoned this project and that they will never think about it. If we don’t get it, we are ready for industrial action to express our grievances”.
As a matter of importance, Kayondo says government needs to hold the tourism sector in high esteem since it is one of Uganda’s highest foreign exchange earners.
Tourism accounts for 10% of Uganda’s GDP and constitutes 24% of the country’s foreign exchange inflows.
And while government has slightly increased allocations to this sector, Kayondo says much needs to be done.
“If you are investing 0.1% and you are getting 25% exchange earnings this means it is a substantive sector which you must not brush aside or sweep under your carpet”, Kayondo opines.
Among other activities, Kayondo says they plan to shoot a documentary showcasing Murchison Falls tourist potential and distributing flyers.