NEW UGANDA WILDLIFE ACT REVIEW
The proposed Uganda Wildlife Act amendments currently before the Uganda cabinet are aimed at streamlining the operations of the oil exploration in line with the wildlife existence and environmental conservation.
The review which has been carried out by Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities in consultation with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) and environmentalists aims to bridge the loopholes in the current act which among others offered lenient punishment for poachers.
The current act was also enacted before the discovery of oil and did not address the issues of exploration and disturbances to the wildlife, particularly in the Albertine Region.
Barirega Akankwasah, the Principal Wildlife Officer at Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquity since oil plays a big role in the economy of any country, they cannot say exploration must not take place in the protected areas. Though he did not mention any specific proposals, Akankwasah says what the amendment will provide is an environment where the two can mutually exist.
He says the National Environment Act provides for environmental impact assessment before engaging in any exploration. He says the there is also provision for the same in the current wildlife act. He says NEMA will come up with a broader impact assessment for oil and other sectors. He says this will ensure that both animals and oil activities can coexist.