President Yoweri Museveni has commissioned the multi billion shillings Atiak Sugar Factory in Atiak sub county, Kilak county, Amuru district, 85 Km from Gulu City on Gulu-Nimule road.
The ceremony held yesterday October 22, 2020, was witnessed by both Uganda and Somali top government officials including the First Lady of the Republic of Somalia, Saynab Abdi Moallim.
The President said that countries that have fully achieved their economic growth built their base on the principle factors of production including; land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship adding that the forth factor incorporated entrepreneurship with knowledge into production to accumulate their wealth.
“Uganda as a developing country is still lacking three elements; capital, knowledge added to entrepreneurship skills to develop further. My people in Uganda, if you want Uganda to develop, you must have these factors. Ensure that the natural resources; land, minerals, forests, rivers among others are exploited,” he said.
The factory was established after a feasibility study that sugarcane can grow in the area way back in 2016 under the initiative of Ms Amina Morghe Hersi, a Somali entrepreneur, who invested together with Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) that possesses 40% of total investment.
In May 2018, the government of Uganda, through the Uganda Development Corporation (UDC), took a 10.1 percent ownership in Atiak Sugar Factory, for an investment of USh20 billion (approximately US$5.5 million).
“It’s true Uganda has some entrepreneurship capacity but it is not enough, therefore, capital, entrepreneurship and knowledge should be adopted to add on what is available to develop like other countries,” he said.
President Museveni also cautioned Ugandans against claiming that foreign investments belong to foreigners and not Ugandans.
“Investments on Ugandan land belong to Ugandans not the investors because the citizens are the prime beneficiaries through employment opportunities, taxation that promotes national economic growth, etc,” he said.
He saluted Ms Amina for her vision of starting sugarcane growing in northern Uganda, hence the Atiak sugar factory.
“It has added sugar capacity as a commodity for internal consumption and export alongside Kakira, Kinyara and Lugazi factories. Amina is a freedom fighter like Museveni because she does not give up,” he said.
He thanked the people of Atiak for embracing the investment and called on those who were against the investment to join them.
“Let those who have been confusing us come and join us. We respect them. We shall receive them,” he said.
Prior to the commissioning ceremony, President Museveni was taken on guided tour of the factory covering 15.1 KM across the sugar cane plantation to the banks of River Aswa where a bridge will be built across the river to ease transportation of sugar cane to the factory from across the neighboring districts.
Mr. Abid Mohamud, an official of Atiak Sugar Factory informed the President that when the sugar cane growing had just kicked off, the production of canes was 20 tonnes, but with the application of chemicals and fertilizers, the production has increased to 45 tonnes.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah referred to President Museveni as a great hunter whose idea has taken shape successfully.
“Mr. President, you had a vision, knowing what works and what does not work. This is a success of an idea that has taken shape and transformed the area,” he said.
The Minister for Trade Michael Werikhe Kafabusa said they are committed to work with Atiak Sugar Factory and UDC management to ensure economic transformation.
Ms Amina, the proprietor, said that this is a clear testimony of economic transformation in Africa.
“The war times in the minds of the people in the area will be put in the archives. Over 5000 women are today beneficiaries of the factory by affirmative action. A wealthy woman is a wealthy society and a wealthy nation,” she said.
She thanked the president for his support to the investment saying that his dream has been achieved.