Plans to build a golf course in Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls national parks will not commence until an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) okays it, the director of operations and tourism, Marasa Group of Companies, owned by the Madhvani Group, has said.
Mr Mani Khan, who was early this month appointed board member of Uganda Wildlife Authority, said even if President Museveni in November 2010 consented to a golf course in the parks, they will decide on the next steps depending on results from the EIA. “...if the [Environment Impact] Assessment says yes, we shall build (the golf course), if it says no we may have to decide what to do next,” he said in an interview recently.
Mr Khan’s appointment to the UWA board had raised eyebrows among environment activists, who suspected he could take advantage of the good relations he enjoys with the President to ignore the EIA.
Mr Khan said it is wrong for anyone to assume that he is on the board to push the company’s interests, adding that he sits on the board as a representative of hoteliers from all parts of the country.
The board is expected to supervise the management of wildlife, maintain financial integrity and restore confidence in UWA to boost tourism which so far is the second largest revenue earner after remittances from abroad.
The chairman of the association of Uganda Tour Operators Ltd, Mr Boniface Byamukama, who has also been appointed on the board, said a domestic tourism strategy was yet to be rolled out by Uganda Tourism Board, which could see rates for Ugandans subsidised.
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