By Stephen Wandera
WAKISO, Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni’s plan to mine iron ore to feed local industries has been welcomed but with caution. According to Mr Joseph Yiga, the chairman, Steel and Tubes Industries Ltd, firms to be licensed in mining should only be limited to making sponge iron, raw materials for making steel and iron products.
“Government should only limit the mining firms to making raw materials for us to make the final products or else the market will be distorted,” he told journalists.
We salute the proposed mining of iron ore in Tororo and Kabale but it should be done with caution, Mr Yiga told journalists after official opening of his factory on Thursday.
President Yoweri Museveni who had just presided over the official opening, promised that the local iron ore would reduce the cost of manufacturing in the sector.
Mr Yiga also identified lack of steady power supply, poor road infrastructure and high cost of labour as burdens to the sector.
“When power goes off we lose raw material in the manufacturing pipe lines. And also you have to pay workers when no work is done,” he said. Adding, “This year so far, we have lost Shs1.3 billion.”
Earlier President Yoweri Museveni undertook to fix the power problem by replacing old electricity lines that switch off when there is lightening.
He also said government has got a loan of US$185 million from United Kingdom to work on the roads in Namave Business Park.
The firm employees about 1700 workers and is exporting to Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and DR Congo.