Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Moroto District leaders have welcomed the construction of a cement and clinker factory.
The 1.1 Trillion Shillings 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. It is expected to employ more than 1,000 people in the Karamoja Sub-region.
Once completed in 2025, the factory sitting on 200 acres of land in Nadunget Sub County will be producing approximately 6,000 tonnes per day of clinker and cement.
The development is aimed at reducing the importation of raw materials used by cement factories from the region to other parts of the country.
During the groundbreaking on Tuesday, the local leaders and elders welcomed the development saying that the move will save their minerals from exploitation and generate job opportunities.
Rose Adero, the Moroto District woman councilor representing Loputuk Sub County said that the industry is going to provide a market for the raw materials. Adero also hoped that the factory would provide job opportunities to the reformed warriors who have been terrorizing people due lack of income-generating activities.
She also noted that many of their children have been educated but lack job opportunities and some of them have resorted to drug abuse.
Mark Aol Musoka, a former LCV Chairperson for Moroto noted that the investment will attract other Ugandans to come into the region that was formerly constituted as a no-go zone area.
Musoka observed that this is a time for the region to start channeling returns to the economy of the country. He said the industry will create jobs for at least 35 percent of the local community both skilled and unskilled.
Musoka noted that the region is grappling with insecurity because the youth are idle and they have taken cattle rustling as the only source of livelihood.
Francis Adome, the Member of Parliament for Moroto Municipality said that the factory is in a strategic location and will attract markets from neighboring countries such as Kenya and South Sudan.
Adome said that they are doing everything possible to ensure that the region is secure so that more investors come in and create more development opportunities.
He noted that the factory should also be able to sell the products at subsidized prices so that it is affordable for everyone.
Jackson Angela, an elder in Rupa Sub County appealed to the investors to be honest with the government and the community they are working with.
Angela said that the stones that are going to be quarried are already embedded with other minerals and therefore the miners should be able to declare so that the community can also benefit from the royalties.
He noted that several mining companies have made double profits from the region because many of them come under the pretext of quarrying and they end up taking gold.
Peter Lokeris, the Minister of State for Minerals 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.
He 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.
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”Fayin said.
However, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni while addressing participants during the groundbreaking ceremony said that he wants all the people in the Karamoja sub-region to benefit from the ongoing industrial development in the area.
President Museveni however noted that since all the people of Karamoja cannot work in the cement factory, can create business streams that can help them to also make money from the factory indirectly.
He 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.