President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said that he wants all the people in the Karamoja sub-region to benefit from the ongoing industrial development in the area.
“You heard that these factories which will make clinker will save Uganda 380 million US Dollars of imported clinker and they will create jobs as well as pay taxes. So the people working in the factories will benefit, the government will benefit by taxes but I also want all the Karimojongs to benefit in all the other ways,” President Museveni said.
Clinker is the backbone of cement production.
The President made the remarks today during the groundbreaking ceremony of a clinker and cement production plant in Moroto District.
The factory is being set up by West International Holding Limited, a subsidiary of China West Cement Limited (stock code 2233.HK), a Hong Kong listed company. The firm is an international group enterprise integrating cement production and marketing, corporate management and industrial investment. Founded in September 2019, West International Holding Limited, is committed to the investment, operation and management of cement enterprises in African and Central Asian countries and regions, specializing in the operation and management of the cement sector.
President Museveni however noted that since all the people of Karamoja cannot work in the cement factory, they can create business streams that can help them to also make money from the factory indirectly.
“All of you cannot come here to work in the factory but the workers in the factory don’t come with their own gardens yet they need food, they need milk, they need beef and others, that is how all other Karimojongs can come in,” he explained.
“These factories, which are beginning to come, will gather a big population that will need to be fed so you will share the money of the factory through selling food to them. Are you willing to take that money, or do you want it to be taken by others? This is how the economy grows. I’m a cattle keeper, I sell milk in my village near Rwakitura but there they pay me between Shs600-1000 per litre but the people who are keeping cows near Kampala, they get more than Shs2000 per litre. Therefore, these factories which are coming in to bring more people together are very good for the area. Now produce food, build big hotels, build shops so that they can buy from you,” he added.
President Museveni also thanked the West International Holding Limited group for joining Uganda’s journey in achieving its development agenda through industrialisation.
“I want to thank West International Holding again because as you have heard when their operations are fully developed, they will be earning 900 million US Dollars in a year and that is slightly higher than what we are earning from coffee now. So you can see the contribution that they are making,” Gen. Museveni expounded.
“We are beginning to move on very well now and I want to thank the people of Rupa for organizing themselves into a Trust. The benefits they are getting now, the scholarships, the health centre, the ambulance, all that is what we call Corporate Social Responsibility but there are two more ways that the community can be involved like in the case of Amuru Sugar, we got shares for the community in the factory of sugar which is going to be built there or if the government wants to give the investor land for free to attract them, the government can compensate you with money. This is how the community can be involved in modernization.”
The President was also happy to note that a good number of investors are getting to know more about Uganda as an investment destination and they are coming in to invest in the various sectors of the economy.
“The good thing is that Karamoja has a number of important minerals; there’s limestone, marble, gold, and now we are looking at petroleum in the Kadam valley. For the cement, this is the factory now, it will use the limestone from the North of the Mountain. Now, the adding value to minerals is not going to only happen here, even in other places,” he asserted.
On the other hand, the President cautioned the people of Karamoja to desist from committing crime and keep peace in the area, to ensure that the industrial development agenda is achieved in the sub-region.
“Now that means you need to completely uproot those spoilers. In any case, if they don’t come out peacefully, they will die. When I met the groups in Baralegi , they said these Karachunas are now staying in the wilderness so I told them that those are very easy to deal with because the government has got the eyes to see everywhere by day and night,” he said.
“For the Turkana, I told them that you will not come back to Uganda unless you hand over the people who killed my people. They are now talking of compensation, which is alright, but they must bring the killers first because we cannot go on with this nonsense. Other people are going to the moon, but we are here wasting time. For my people of Pokot, the leaders must be very firm. This game of using the fact that you have Pokot in Uganda and Kenya, and you steal cows and take them to Kenya, that should stop.”
President Museveni further pledged that the government will tarmac the roads from Moroto to Kotido and Kaabong and that from Kitgum to Kidepo.
About the electricity cost, the President told the investors that the government is working towards stabilizing the cost to 5 cents per unit.
The Minister of State for Minerals, Hon. Peter Lokeris said in order to promote the sustainable exploitation of Uganda’s minerals , the strategic objective of the government is to promote value addition for employment creation, industrialization and local content development.
“Your Excellency, the mineral sub sector is proud to have been able to realize and actualize such a huge investment of up to 300 million US dollars clinker and cement project and I’m pleased as the line minister for having guided this project from the start to the present when we are holding this groundbreaking ceremony,” Hon. Lokeris said.
“The project will produce approximately 6000 tonnes per day of clinker. Uganda has a present cement production capacity of over 4.5 million tonnes per annum and the demand is projected to increase by 15 percent annually on the background of the booming oil and gas sector and infrastructure development,” he added.
The Minister further noted that currently, Uganda imports over 50 percent of the clinker it uses in the production of cement and this project will greatly support the government’s import substitution initiative by locally manufacturing clinker within Uganda.
“I would like to appreciate the effort of the private sector towards the development of the mineral sub sector in Uganda.”
The President of West International Holding Limited, Mr. Wang Fayin said upon completion, the project will play a positive role in the economic development of Uganda.
“Everything is going on smoothly and the project will develop the people of Moroto and Uganda at large, economically.”
He also commended President Museveni for being a visionary leader who has created a conducive environment that has enabled investments to thrive.
The Vice General Manager of China Railway 20th Bureau Group Corporation, Mr. Chen Lei promised that their firm will work hand in hand with West International Holding Limited to ensure that the project is a success. The China Railway 20th Bureau Group Corporation is the company responsible for the construction works of the cement factory.
On his part, the Chairman of West China Cement, Mr. Zhang Jimin said, “I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to all our friends who care and support our projects in Uganda. Particularly, I thank His Excellency the President who has given us strong guidance and assistance that has led to prosperity and development. May our cooperation stay forever.”
West International Holding limited- Uganda Representative, Mr. Hannington Karuhanga said the clinker and cement project in Moroto is a testament of the possibilities that Uganda can offer when local communities are united, purposeful and organised to attract serious investors.
“It has also been very clear with your bold decision that you have insisted that resources like minerals not be extracted in their raw nature and exported at little or no value to Uganda or indeed Africa in general. Those of us who know and hear what you say, this is a testament not just to the people of Karamoja alone but to Uganda, East Africa and to Africa,” Mr. Karuhanga noted.
“We are in Moroto today Your Excellency, to ensure that in two years’ time, Moroto will become Uganda’s clinker production hub with potential to supply Uganda with entire clinker requirements and therefore reducing if not eliminating the importation of clinker.”
The event was also attended by the Minister of State for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hon. Esther Anyakun, the Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity, Hon. Rose Lilly Akello, Members of Parliament, among other officials.