By: Ismael Kasooha
The Government of Uganda has moved to revamp the Guaugzhou Dongsong Energy (U) LTD phosphate manufacturing plant located in Tororo District.
The multi-million-dollar project has stalled since 2021 after losing funding from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
The Prime Minister of Uganda Nabbanja Robinah on Saturday led a cross section of Ministers and other leaders to an inspection of Guaugzhou Dongsong Energy (U) LTD to establish the status of the phosphate exploration and challenges affecting the plant.
On behalf of the Government and the people of Uganda, Nabbanja expressed concern seeing such a big fertilizer plant suffocated and dormant.
Sitting on over 265 Square Kilometers of land, the Uganda-China Free Zone of International Cooperation project, had planned to produce 300,000 tonnes of fertilizers among other products.
It was evident that no production had taken place at the plant. A number of bags of bio-organic fertilizers were still in stock full of dust and the heavy machinery in the factory was silent.
Nabbanja said that The President has directed her to ensure that the facility is helped to revamp to produce the much needed fertilizers to enable increased production and productivity in the country.
“As you are aware Uganda is an agricultural country that needs fertilizers more with the coming on board of the Parish Development Model that aims at increasing production and productivity. So the country needs this facility more than ever,” said Nabbanja.
Nabbanja appealed to the people of Tororo and Ugandans in general to support investors because industrialization is a sure way to develop the economy by creating jobs and also facilitating development of the economy.
“Ugandans must learn to support investors in their areas because the benefits from such investments are enjoyed by us Ugandans in the form of employment opportunities both directly and indirectly,” said Nabbanja.
Members of Parliament and local leaders from Tororo welcomed the government plan of revamping the defunct facility because of the many advantages that the people of Tororo get from the operation of such infrastructure. They called for consideration of the local content as a priority.
Otim Emmanuel Otala, Member of Parliament from Tororo said that the Government has made the right decision of revamping the defunct plant because the people of Tororo had started benefiting from it but closed in a short period of time.
“We appreciate the initiative of the President to have this facility revamped because of the many advantages it has to the people of Tororo and the country in general,” said Otala.
The Tororo District Chairperson John Okea welcomed the government’s intervention of having the plant revitalized because of the economic importance to the community and the entire country.
“We are optimistic that government will address the challenges that led to the closure of the plant so that it can start operations as soon as possible,” said Okea.
The Premier introduced a Cabinet sub-committee led by Dr. Monica Musenero appointed by the President to find mechanisms of addressing challenges that led to the closure of the facility and ensure its revamping as soon as possible.
The other members of the committee are the Minister for Energy and Mineral Development Dr. Ruth Nankabirwa, her deputy in charge of minerals Okasai Opolot, Minister of state for Defence Jacob Oboth Oboth, Ongalo Obote, State Minister in charge of Teso Affairs who will represent the Prime Minister’s office among others.
The committee is expected to make a report to the president within a period of one month.
Present were Hon. Monica Musenero the Minister of Science and Technology, Oboth Oboth, Minister of State for Defence, Ongalo Obote Minister of State for Teso affairs, Okasaai Opolot Minister of State for Energy, officials from Ministry of Finance, Attorney general’s office, Area MPs, RDCs, local leaders and the technical team of Tororo.
The financial crisis at Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group Co. Ltd worsened, prompting the investors to appeal to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for intervention to help save it from collapse.
The Chinese company that has been developing a phosphates manufacturing plant in Osukuru Tororo, said it is open to funding from non-Chinese financiers.