Baz Waiswa

Baz Waiswa

Lake Albert Gas To Facilitate Iron Ore Processing In Kigezi


The great Kigezi region in western Uganda will get a big iron ore smelting plant, president Yoweri Museveni told a political rally in Nfasha village, Kacherere Parish, West Rubanda constituency, Kabale district. 

Museveni who is seeking re-election as president of Uganda said the region is rich in mineral resources that can be exploited to transform and enrich the country. “Rubanda is rich in iron ore resources. The NRM Government wants to build a big iron ore smelting plant. 

The gas from Lake Albert will be delivered to Butogota and the neighbouring areas to facilitate the processing of iron ore,” he said, adding that the target was to produce and process one million tons of iron per day. 

The president revealed that the resources available were sufficient to cover a period of 45 to 50 years. The country, according to Museveni, would benefit a lot because the processed iron today fetches US $ 550 per ton. 

However, his competitor and former close ally, former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi during a presidential campaign rally in Kabale district faulted his former boss for failing to make deliberate efforts to process the iron ore. 

Aerial geological surveys conducted by the Geological Surveys and Mines Directorate GSMD in Kigezi sub-region show that there are 200 million metric tons of iron ore deposits are in the region. This means Uganda can potentially get US$ 110 trillion. 

"Currently, we have over 200 million tonnes reserves of hematite iron ore in southwestern Uganda and 60 million tonnes of magnetite iron ore in the south eastern part of the country and still have huge potential for exploration,"  Francis Natukunda, a senior geologist at Uganda's Department of Geological Survey and Mines, is quoted by New Vision saying.

According to Natukunda, if the iron ore is extracted, it would not be exported, but rather used domestically to fuel demand for steel in the construction industry. Uganda banned iron ore exports in 2012. 

“Uganda’s geographical position gives it access to over 500 million people, including COMESA and SADC and the recent population surge in the countries forming these regional blocks will trigger demand for construction materials from our industries,” state minister for investment, Gabriel Ajedra Aridru told a sector conference in Kampala last year. 

Iron Ore is a key raw material in making steel. Local steel makers like Roofings have shown interest in making significant investment into exploration, mining and processing of iron ore to add values and eventual exportation.

Museveni said his Government would extend electricity from the Muko junction off the Kabale – Kisoro road to benefit a number of places in the area including Muko, Nfasha, Rubanda Mission, Ikumba Health Centre,nBugyera, Ruhuriza and Kiyabe.



Pension Fund Tipped On Investing In Energy Sector, Oil Refinery


Uganda shouldn’t be borrowing money from China to fund its energy projects when institutions like National Social Security Fund (NSSF) have the money and capacity to finance such initiatives, President Yoweri Museveni has said.

The president was speaking at a dinner organized to celebrate 30 years of NSSF Uganda’s existence at Serena Hotel in Kampala. The NSSF is a National Saving Scheme mandated by government through the NSSF Act to provide social security services to employees in Uganda. 

“We borrowed money from china to build Karuma dam and we (government) contributed 15 percent. In the future, NSSF could have a stake in dams like Ayago; Karuma is already funded,” the president siad.  President Museveni said Ayago dam alone would generate about 800MW. 

Karuma Power Station is a 600 megawatts hydroelectric power project under construction at Karuma Falls on the banks of River Nile in Uganda. Construction of the dam and power station officially started on 12 August 2013 and will go on for the next five years. 

Karuma is projected to be the largest power-generating plant in East Africa when completed. Construction of the power plant was awarded to Sinohydro Corporation, a Chinese construction company. 

In 2014, the Chinese Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China agreed to fund 85 percent of the construction costs, in the form of a repayable concessionary loan. The Ugandan government will fund 15 percent of the cost. 

In March 2015, the Ugandan Parliament assented to two loans totaling $1.435 billion, from EXIM Bank for the construction of Karuma. And now the president wants local financiers to participate in projects like Ayago Power Station and Isimba Power Station. 

The President’s words came shortly after the Fund’s managing director Richard Byarugaba asked government to put in place ‘necessary vehicles for investment’ so that they can play a part in long term financing.

 “We are able to finance infrastructure projects like roads, railway, the oil refinery and hydropower dams. Give us this opportunity, we won’t let you down.” Byarugaba, the NSSF managing director appealed to government. 

According to NSSF board Chairman Patrick Byabakama Kaberenge the Fund currently has approximately 500,000 active members who make periodic contributions with an asset base of over Shs6 trillion ($1.8 billion), making it the largest pension Fund in East Africa to-date. 

The Fund laid out its strategic path for the next 10 years, with a stronger emphasis on; growth in customer satisfaction to over 90%, providing members with an interest of at least 2% above 10 year inflation, growing the Fund size to Shs20 trillion and to become one of best pension Fund worldwide. 

The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has paid Sh1, 039bn in benefits to over 200,000 members over the last 30 years. This feat has been inspired by consistent growth in benefits paid from about Shs1.6m in 1986 when the fund was started to Shs186 billion in 2015. 

“Over the 30 years, we have grown to become the largest Fund in East Africa by value and the largest financial institution in Uganda.” Byarugaba said in a press statement ahead of the 30 year celebrations.

Total Want Oil Production To Start ‘Soon’ Despite Volatile Prices

In a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Patrick Pouyanné, CEO and Chairman of Total, Total’s expressed strong commitment to work towards producing the Ugandan oil resources as soon as possible whatever the global oil price.

Pouyanné’s lack of fear for the volatile oil prices that have ripped the industry globally comes from the fact the ‘Uganda oil resources are potentially low cost resources' and 'will be competitive in the market’

President Museveni and Patrick Pouyanné according to a statement issued by the oil company discussed ‘issues related to the oil industry in general as well as the projects of Total in Uganda’  at the December 22, 2015 meeting.

The statement said the two discussed the studied outlets to market the Ugandan oil at national, regional and international level including the view that the crude export route should be primarily selected on the basis of economical criteria, lowest cost and the reliability and safety of the operations.

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