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Hima Cement looks to housing sector for growth

What sort of incentives are you looking out for from the government to help you produce at optimum capacity?

The basic principle that needs to be applied in the industry is that a local manufacturer should be given a little favour and not importers or people who are just transforming raw materials into cement. Hima Cement is today the only cement producer in the country that has a fully integrated plant that is using 100% local raw materials, including energy. We are therefore not importing anything except pet coke but we are substituting it with local biomass (coffee and rice husks). But on the other hand, we have our competitors, who import 60-70% of their raw materials. Now when you look at the tax incentive, I am more taxed with my plant in Kasese than my grinding station in Tororo that is importing semi-finished products which does not make sense. We are incentivising people to import and transform raw materials rather than investing heavily in manufacturing. What is most frustrating is that this has been explained to the government a couple of times, and it was understood. I am told even the President asked for this to be changed but it has never been implemented.

If you were to peer into the future, what will the local cement industry look like five years from today?

I think by then, we will have at least one or two proper cement plants; producing everything, from limestone to cement. Most likely, there will be a consolidation because the Ugandan market is still relatively small and yet we have a number of competitors. I think there is a need to rationalize a little bit to make sure that there are players producing everything locally in a safe and environmentally friendlier way.

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