Bunyoro Growers’ Cooperative Union Limited has received Shs 2 bn compensation from the government for losses incurred as a result of the NRA liberation war.
This was revealed to Philemon Bagada Rugaaju, the cooperative’s Chairperson, during its 68th Annual General Meeting which was held on Friday at Kigumba Cooperative College in Kiryandongo district.
” In late November 2020, partial payment of shs 2 billion was, through M/s Kabega Bogezi & Bukenya Advocates, received by the union. “This is a partial payment of the 4.8 billion shillings which the government accepted to give as compensation,” Bagada informed members.
He told the meeting that the union’s board appointed M/S Kabega, Bogezi & Bukenya advocates in August 2019 to pursue the payment of compensation for the war losses from the government.
During the war, several of the cooperative’s assets were vandalized, including tractors, a fully-fledged machine workshop, lorries, trucks, and a cotton ginnery. Also lost were the union’s cattle and goats ranches, along with over 500 head of cattle and goats.
The union’s original claim amounting to Shs 5.2 bn for assets, stocks, vehicles, and livestock lost during the 1981-86 Liberation war was brought to Shs 4.8 bn after reviews by a government-appointed verification committee.
According to Bagada, the money will be used to initiate the union’s business strategic plan in addition to implementing other landmark projects.
“We have enough land and other assets. This is an opportunity for us to develop them and do something memorable in the region,” he said.
However, members of different primary cooperatives who attended the AGM asked the board to share a percentage of the money with them, saying they were equally affected by the war.
In response, Wilson Byaruhanga, the union’s board vice Chairperson, requested the leaders of the affected primary cooperatives to get in touch with the union’s Secretary Manager who will present the list to the board for a way forward.
The event combined AGMs for 2019 and 2020, an outcome Bagada blamed on the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bunyoro Growers’ Cooperative Union was formed and registered in 1954 to offer marketing services to its primary cooperative societies faced with difficulties in finding market for members’ crops, including coffee, cotton, and other produce.
Other services offered by the union in its heyday included extending credit to member cooperatives, training co-operators, transporting produce, delivering agricultural inputs, and advisory extension services, all of which were affected by the 1980s Liberation war.
The AGM was attended by 91 members from different primary cooperative societies based in different districts of the Bunyoro sub-region.
Also in attendance was the Masindi District Commercial Officer and an external auditor who presented an audited financial report of the union’s finances.
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