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The Government of Uganda has halted the controversial $80million coffee agreement with Uganda Vinci coffee company.

On February 10, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija signed the Shs 284 billion Coffee processing deal with Ms Enrica Pinetti to process and export Uganda’s coffee in Europe and Middle East.

The deal attracted criticism from various players in the agricultural sector. The Finance Ministry was blamed for failure to consult all the stakeholders in the coffee sector and going on to sign on their behalf.

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Kasaija signed on behalf of Uganda Government in the presence of Secretary to the Treasury, Ramathan Ggoobi as witness.

However, it emerged that Pinetti, who is the purported owner of Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited (UVCC), signed the Coffee processing contract as a witness raising a lot more questions on who could be the rightful owner of the firm.

Government has now set up a ministerial committee comprising of the Energy Ministry, Agriculture, Finance, Works ministry and the Attorney General to review the agreement on Tuesday.

The State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization Eveln Anite said that she just saw the agreement from the media.

The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among also directed the Committee Chairperson Mwine Mpaka to investigate the signed coffee deal.

The Parliamentary Committee on Tourism Trade and Industry summoned Matia Kasaija, Enrica Pinetti, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Finance Ramathan Ggoobi, Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka, Minister for Trade Industry and Cooperatives Francis Mwebesa, Minister for Agriculture Frank Tumwebaze and the Solicitor General.

Other are; Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), Uganda Coffee Federation (UCF), Uganda Coffee Quality Trader’s Association, Uganda Coffee Trader’s Alliance, Rwenzori Coffee Trust, Bugisu Cooperative Union, Ankole Coffee Cooperative Union, UNZO Coffee, Uganda Large Scale Farmers Association, BUCADEF, UGACOF, KAWACOM, ESCO (U) LTD, and OLAM (U) LTD.

The Minister for Agriculture Frank Tumwebaze denied any involvement in the signing of the coffee deal. He said his ministry was not involved and asked everyone to pose their questions to the Finance ministry.

Ggoobi said the coffee agreement will support the government in achieving its coffee production target from the current 7 million bags per year to 20 million bags by 2030.

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