When the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) says that its inability to protect wetlands from encroachers is due to meager human resources, I take that as an excuse it has concocted to cover up its biggest problem which is incompetence
As NEMA’s executive Director, Dr. Tom Okurut claims that he has less than 50 technical officers and a majority of districts have one instead of nine environment officers. He said this shamelessly during a public dialogue on the functionality and performances of NEMA and other environment managing agencies.
Yes, I agree that in any businesses, insufficient human resource can affect performance but that’s a small problem that can always be solved by recruitment. But when NEMA’s executive director presents it as the main problem, I find it inexcusable and suspicious.
First of all, NEMA is not a private but a government organization. Had it been a private agency I would imagine that may be they lack the money to recruit but NEMA is a government agency which is allocated money every time the national budget is read.
This means that it can afford to hire the expertise that it needs to ensure the protection of our environment. So, if someone claims that they have insufficient human resource when many of us are languishing without jobs then I see this as ridiculous. To me, this means one thing, that someone out there is justnot doing what they are supposed to do with the funds allocated to the agency.
Secondly, NEMA and KCCA have come out to allege that the problem of environment encroachers should not be blamed on them but on Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), I regard this as escapist.
The two claim that Uganda Investment Authority is the one responsible for allocating land to investors especially in wetlands.
However, mine is a simple question. Of all these agencies, which one is mandated with the task to protect the environment? Is it not the National Environment Management Authority?
This is a clear manifestation of ineficiency; that NEMA with all its authority can fail to reverse UIA’s decisions of encroaching on the environment. I really find it hard to believe. It’s a clear indication that NEMA has no authority over the environment.
If NEMA has no authority to protect our environment, over Uganda Investment Authority when they make them fail to do their work, then is there any reason why we have a lame duck to protect the environment?
If at all NEMA is serious, it’s high time they enacted laws that will protect the environment from all kinds of encroachers and stick to them.