20 October 2008
Kampala - PAN African Housing, a new estates company, is to set up a $10m (about sh17.5b) housing estate in Kirinya, a Kampala suburb.
The firm will target low-income earners.
Vinay Dawda, the company director, said: "It is our dream that all Ugandans acquire their own houses at affordable rates," he said.
Dawda said they would build 2,000, two-and-three bedroomed units on a 300 acre piece of land.
"We shall start construction work next month.
"More units will be constructed depending on the market demand," Dawda, also the managing director Britania Allied Industries, said.
He said arrangements would be put in place for low income earners to pay for the units in instalments.
"The arrangements to pay shall be through bank mortgages or salary loans.
"The houses cost between sh50m and sh75m depending on the size," he said.
Dawda said the houses would be ready in two years.
Analysts estimate that less than half of the over one million city inhabitants lack decent housing. Most people, they say, live in squalid and congested city slums.
A report released by the Government recently, showed that the country has a housing deficit of about 600,000 houses.
Industry players say the deficit means that the basic need of shelter is not being met for the majority of Ugandans.
The state minister for housing, Micheal Werikhe, was also quoted in the media recently saying that in Kampala alone, 100,000 housing units are required by the population.
Werikhe said this meant that only 13% of the housing needs in Kampala are being met by the current real estate companies and the National Housing and Construction Corporation.
He said the Government would encourage and work with private investors in the housing sector to generate proper housing for the majority of Ugandans.
He said two bills to encourage and ensure proper housing for the majority of Ugandans would be presented to Parliament soon. There are about 10 active real estate developers in the country.
25 November 2008
Kampala - A Chinese firm plans to invest $1.5b in the Lake Victoria free-trade zone in Rakai district, the investment state minister has said.
Prof. Semakula Kiwanuka said Paradise International had partnered with Kagera eco-cities, a firm linked to the Serulanda spiritual sect.
"This is a massive project that should be supported. We are interested in investment. Anything to do with religion is none of our business," he said.
Semakula and a team from the Uganda Investment Authority recently travelled to China.
"I will report to the President that the partners are serious and should be taken as bona fide investors," Kiwanuka told journalists in Kampala yesterday.
He, however, said the firm had not provided a feasibility study on the project. He said the project would be located on a 200-sqkm land located in Sesamirembe, where Serulanda sect is based.
The minister added that he met Benunula Eyenunula, a project official, who assured him that the project was not associated with the sect
Following a public outcry over the Serulanda spiritual sect, President Yoweri Museveni called for an inquiry into the group's activities. The probe committee is yet to submit its findings.
Semakula said he signed a memorandum of understanding with Kagera eco-cities in 2006.
"However, like many investors have done before, they disappeared and only came back three months ago. I knew they had no funds, but I think they are now ready," he said.
The minister said he visited the project site and met Rakai district officials and residents who expressed enthusiasm about it.
Kiwanuka said the Constitution provides for freedom of worship, but added: "We will ensure the project does not mix religion with politics."
He said the Cabinet would soon formulate a free trade law.
Allan Ddamulira, the Kagera operations manager, stressed that the firm had no relationship with the Serulanda sect.
Kampala — EXPANSION work of the Hima cement has started. $108 million has been secured for the construction of the new plant adjacent to the old one in Kasese.
The project, which was contracted to CBMI Construction Company, a pioneer in China's cement engineering industry, is funded by Lafarge, which specialises in building materials.
Site manager Bernhard Farnbauer said this was one of the biggest investments in Africa and the first of its kind in the region. Business Vision learnt that this was aimed at increasing production capacity to meet the local demand.
Speaking during a media tour of the expansion works, Hima Cement managing director David Njoroge said the sh209.5b new plant would increase capacity from the current 375,000 tons to over 830,000 tons of cement.
"This will increase Hima Cement's ability to meet the local demand which has been rapidly growing making Uganda a net importer of cement," Njoroge said.
He added that the investment, expected to be commissioned in 2010, would have a significant impact on the economy and socio-economic welfare of the people in Uganda.
"Our investment will contribute to economic and socio development of the country. The direct and indirect employment, our payment of central and local government taxes and our use of inputs," he said.
Njoroge stressed that Hima Cement is among the top tax payers in Uganda with an annual wage of bill of over sh4.2b.
Hima Cement Ltd was 15th among the top tax payers in the country with a total of sh24.9b in the 2005/2006 rankings.
Njoroge added that the company pays an annual electricity bill of sh6.6bn.
The UMEME corporate communication manager, Robert Kisubi said; Hima was among the five company's customers in paying electricity bills though he declined to reveal the bills adding that Hima was in the right position.
Njoroge said: "With the latest technology and complying with the Lafarge group environmental standards, the plant will be within the global environmental standards. We have been involved in environment conservation programmes in the area and we have planted over 500,000 trees in seven years and we intend to plant other 1million traditional trees by 2011."
The company has spent sh500m on community welfare programmes. It provides free anti-retroviral drugs to those infected and also gives voluntary counseling and testing to staff and the Hima community. The plant manager Allen Mate said, the company has unsteady power problem. "We had to buy a generator worth $1.8m as alternative power source and we are making an additional investment of $1.5m in a gas conditioning tower." Mate explained.This had led to an increase in production costs and hence the price of cement, he added.
Mate said they also have a man power powerwhere it is only limited to the local people who are not skilled. They have 259emplouyees and 300 contract workers.
He said the problem this had been improved through investing in staff development in relation to Lafarge system of continuous skills improvemement. The company has also carried out training to the locals and interns from various universities for further skill enhancement.
Mate said the current plant had come of age and could not meet all the standards in different aspects.
Hima took ownership of the plant in 1994 from Uganda Cement Industries in 1971. Lafarge through Bamburi acquired the plant in April 1999. $15m was injected since acquisition increasing production from 120,000 tons to 375,000 tons. However, Njoroge (MD) said, with the new plant, the company hopes to overcome most of the challenges to significantly increase production to meet both local and export demand.
He said the project is being funded by their sister companies and their savings. Hima is a subsidiary of Bamburi Cement which is part of Lafarge East Africa. Baburi Group is the leading producing and marketing Group in the Eastern Africa region.
Its subsidies include Hima Cement (Uganda), Bamburi Special Products and Lafarge Ecosystems. Bamburi Cement is a subsidiary Lafarge specialising in building materials with top rankings in all its business: Cement, Aggregates and Concrete and Gypsum. Lafarge is represented with in 76 countries and has 90,000 employees.
are you telling me that you have never posted anything that's a ' would, should and "to get" '?????Africa always talks in would , should and "to get" forms. please show what has been realised...if all the "woulds and coulds" materialized we would all sit joyfully in Africa instead of living abroad!
16 December 2008
Kampala — MUKWANO Group of Companies is to build six more factories next year to meet the increasing regional demand for its products, the managing director has said.
"The market for our products has grown so fast in the region. "To meet this overwhelming demand, we shall construct six more factories next year," Alykhan Karmali, said during the distributors' end of year party at the Golf Course Hotel, in Kampala.
He, however, did not say what the investment would cost. The Mukwano Group deals in a number of businesses which include manufacturing, processing and real estate.
"Over the years, we have grown to become East Africa's leading company in the production of fast moving consumer goods.
"Our growth is evident with new the projects and production plants we have established," Karmali said. He said there were significant changes in the domestic and international markets, which had increased the demand of their products like Sunseed oil, which is exported to the UK.
The group also promotes sunflower growing in northern Uganda. The group has been working in partnership with the farmers in the Lango sub-region for the past eight years.
The company provides farmers with high yielding sunflower seeds, extension services in modern agricultural practices and commercial farming.
The sunflower project in the region is credited for the dramatic improvement of the communities welfare.
The project has assisted more than 85,000 contract farmers with farm inputs and seeds. The processing plants will provide direct and indirect employment to thousands of people in region.
Mukwano buys a combined harvest of about 34,000 tonnes, but hopes to raise this to 300,000 tonnes within two years. At sh350 per kilograms, farmers are earning an estimated sh12b from the group. The success of the project has been because of four main pillars; availability of hybrid seeds, the use of best farming practices, the elimination of middlemen and a ready market by Mukwano.
In order to avoid the exploitation of the farmers by middlemen, the company has put into place a number of logistical and administrative structures to help the farmers access services directly from Mukwano without having to pay a third party.
Thus farmers are given packing bags and transport for their harvest. There are also visited by agents, supervisors and coordinators who are paid directly by Mukwano.
1 February 2009
Kampala — THE Government plans to allocate sh253.4b for district road maintenance in the country in the next two financial years, works state minister John Byabagambi has said.
"We want to make sure that all roads in the districts are in good shape. A good road network is a catalyst for economic growth because other sectors depend on the adequacy and quality of the road network," Byabagambi said.
He was speaking at a workshop with local government leaders on the proposed policy changes for improving management of district roads at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala on Saturday.
Byabagambi said the workshop was aimed at discussing the proposed policy which would be presented to Parliament for approval by the end of March.
The policy changes include reviving the practice of routine maintenance by labour gangs, providing road equipment to all districts and to allocate sufficient operational funds.
Byabagambi said a full equipment unit comprising a motor grader, two tipper trucks, a wheel-oader, a water bowser, one smooth self-propelled roller, a pick-up truck, two motorcycles, and a pedestrian roller would be purchased for every district.
Other items to be funded include a bulldozer, excavator, mobile and regional workshops to be shared among districts.
The policy, Byabagambi said, also focuses on the re-establishment of road gangs in districts, whereby workers would be paid sh60,000 per month to maintain one mile per month within their areas of residence.
4 February 2009
Kampala — The plan to replace commuter taxis with buses in Kampala has got new momentum after the World Bank offered to fund an initial study on efficient city bus operation.
Although the talk about buses replacing taxis has been around for decades, no feasibility study has been done.
In an invitation for expression of interest, the World Bank last week said it would finance services of consultants, including pre-feasibility studies for the development of long-term bus system designs for the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area.
The estimated cost of the studies, to be conducted over four months, is $279,000 (about sh540m).
Steven Shalita, the World Bank communication specialist, said the institution would finance the pre-feasibility studies and would consider funding a more detailed study that may also include engineering designs.
"The bank support is in response to a request by the Government and Kampala City Council after identifying congestion in Kampala city as a major problem," Shalita said.
Discussing the National Transport Master Plan at Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo in December, stakeholders agreed to carry out feasibility studies as the first step towards introduction of buses in the city.
They also agreed that buses would operate alongside taxis until Jan2011 when the taxis would be phased out.
It had been agreed that the Cabinet would discuss the outcome of the feasibility studies by the first quarter of this year, but this is unlikely since the four-month long studies can only be completed by June.
Kampala City Council's attempt to introduce the buses in the city without a thorough system in place is facing several challenges like lack of adequate parking space, uneconomical operations due to congestion and lack of clear rules of entry, regulation and operation.
During evening hours, passengers scramble for the few available buses, yet operators say they are expanding with caution due to the unresolved challenges that make their operations less profitable.
Fred Senoga, the managing director of Pioneer Easy Bus Company, said the World Bank study is a welcome move.
"Although this is a long-term project, it is the future for us," he said, adding that the move would address issues like harmonisation of policies.
Pioneer has 13 buses plying different city routes.
An earlier study of the National Transport Master-Plan estimated that passengers would save at least 16 minutes per trip if buses replaced the 14-seater taxis within the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area - an area stretching 30 kilometers from the city centre.
The study also estimated that there were about 7,000 commuter taxis operating in the city by 2003, with total seat capacity of 102,000.
It is estimated that about 1,500 buses would be required to deliver this necessary seat capacity.
15 March 2009
Berlin — AN advisory board to steer the uranium development strategy for Uganda has been formed, paving way for the creation of the national nuclear electrical power generation programme, IBI Corporation, a Canadian mining and investment company, announced last week.
Joshua Tuhumwire, the commissioner in the department of geological survey and mines in the energy ministry, Paul Sherwen, the chairman of Uganda Chamber of Mines and Elly Karuhanga, a director at IBI Corporation are the board members.
Others are Paul Harricks, a partner in Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, A J Coffman, the president of Far Country Management Services Inc and James Misener, the president of Paterson, Grant & Watson, Geophysical.
The programme consultants include Gary Fitchett, John Alton, and Dennis Mellersh, all premier managers in IBI Corporation.
"The board will be involved in preparing and presenting a proposal for national energy programme for Uganda," IBI Corporation said in a statement.
The formation of the advisory board follows a recent meeting between President Yoweri Museveni and Gary Fitchett, the IBI's chief in Kampala.
During this meeting, Museveni requested the national energy programme for Uganda proposals.
Fitchett outlined his company's conceptual uranium development strategy to the President.
IBI's uranium development strategy for Uganda views the country's potential uranium resources as a strategic mineral that should be used for the benefit of Ugandans through the development of a national nuclear electrical power generation programme.
The country is facing power supply shortage that started in the late 1990's due to a combination of low investment in the energy sector and low hydropower generation as Lake Victoria water levels, which feed the two hydropower facilities in Jinja, declined drastically, hurting on the economy.
Electricity generation fell to 100 megawatts from the installed capacity of 380 megawatts, forcing the Government to procure diesel-powered generators.
The future economic progress will depend to a large extent on its ability to foster business and industrial development through the provision of adequate and competitively priced electrical power.
A new 250 megawatt hydropower dam is under construction at Bujagali on the Nile, with at least two other dams expected over the next decade to meet future demand. But energy analysts predict that even with full utilisation of the potential resources suitable for hydroelectric power generation, the country would still face an electrical power shortfall.
To mitigate the shortage, IBI is proposing a nuclear energy strategy for electrical power generation using potential uranium resources.
The strategy proposes that IBI and the Government form a private sector/public sector partnership under which the firm would explore for and develop land with potential viable uranium resources to increase electricity production.
IBI holds about 2,000 square kilometres of land in Uganda, on which it has commenced exploration.
Uranium can also be used in the treatment of cancer patients, diagnostic procedures including organ scans, crop improvement through integrated nutrient management, level gauging in soft-drinks firms and assessing geothermal resources like those in Katwe and Kibiro in the Western Rift Valley.
The strategy comes at a time when even environmentally-conscious countries like Sweden, Finland, the UK and Germany are changing their attitude to nuclear power, and now regard it as a potential solution to concerns over carbondioxide emissions, high fossil fuel prices and dependence on imported energy sources.
Several African nations, including Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Namibia and Nigeria, are considering nuclear power as an alternative to hydropower.
However, Uganda cannot mine its uranium resources until it has comprehensive laws in place that institute the required safeguards.
Another hurdle is the lack of skilled manpower in the sector, with less than a dozen personnel available to roll out the project.
To move forward, Atomic Bill was passed into law precipitating the setting up of regulatory framework with technical assistance from the International Atomic Energy Agency.