Government has already given a green light to a potential private investment of millions of dollars in an iron ore factory in Rubanda District, Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has revealed.
“The President has already contacted the potential investors in enabling the start of this factory,” said Rugunda.
“Meetings were conducted by all Kigezi MPs and a team came and inspected the site where the factory would be set. We approved the site and the only thing left is for investors to come and inspect the place to start work,” he added.
The iron and steel industry is the back bone of industrialisation and historically, all developed economies have developed this sector first, in order to support the process of industrialisation and development.
According to National Planning Authority, Uganda’s iron ore deposits in the south western region are among the highest quality iron ores in the world.
Rugunda spoke Friday at the grand opening of the 2018 International Community of Banyakigezi (ICOB) Uganda chapter convention at Mulore grounds in Mulore town council, Rubanda district.
This year’s ICOB convention was organised under the theme “Taking ICOB to the communities.”
Rugunda was accompanied by the State Minister for Housing, Dr Chris Baryomunsi; Vietnamese consular to Uganda, Augustus Mulenga; Rubanda East Member of Parliament, Henry Musasizi; Rubanda West legislator, Eng. Dennis Sabiiti and the Rubanda district Woman Member of Parliament, Prossy Kampurira.
Rugunda said, “When this factory starts, residents should expect a train and a better road network to transport iron ore and its products.”
The current trade deficit in the iron and steel sector is about USD 200 million.
In the first National Development Plan (NDPI) it was planned to develop the use of iron ore to produce ingots that would supply the steel rolling mills.
This target having not been achieved in the NDPI period, NDPII earmarked iron ore among the six (6) minerals for exploitation and value addition during its period, 2014/15-2019/20.
It is two years to the completion of the NDPII period but this target is yet to be achieved.
But Rugunda expressed hope the project would start soon.
Monthly national demand for wire rods is 6,000 tonnes.
Rugunda asked residents to conserve the environment to avoid negative effects of climate change and also exploit the area’s tourism potential.
“Rubanda is blessed to have almost all the tourism potential of Kigezi. For example over 60 percent of the world’s Mountain gorillas are found here. Hoteliers and other business people in tourism should ensure that they have the best that can keep tourists around,” said Rugunda.
According to Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, Kigezi as a region has the potential to develop if its people are united.
“There is no doubt that Kigezi has great names in this country. If we unite as Banyakigezi despite our various differences be it political, social or economic, we must see this region develop,” said Baryomunsi.
According to Grace Mugabirwe, the chairperson for ICOB Uganda chapter, this year’s convention involved a youth innovations camp, football match, health and youth camp and cultural entertainment.
Other activities included a developmental talk on health, innovation and industrialisation, investment, food security, women empowerment among others.
Kenneth Jogo Biryabarema, the Rubanda district chairperson, said due to the terrain of the district, the education sector is highly disadvantaged thus limiting supervision.
He expressed concern over limited accommodation for teachers and also the fact that most of the areas are hard to reach, saying government workers in the district’s remote areas need a special allowances.
Biryabarema further appealed to government to boost its road funding towards the district so as to enable its tourism sector to develop.
Tycoon Ceaser Mulenga and Kigezi Tourism cluster president Eng. Ivan Batuma donated $9,000 and $1,000 respectively to improve technical education in Rubanda district.