Museveni: Corruption is killing our economic competitiveness

As he launched a $620m (Shs 2.3trillion) industrial park project at Sukulu village in Tororo district, President Yoweri Museveni expressed fears that Uganda’s efforts to become economically competitive may further get frustrated by corruption within government agencies.

But he told his audience that he is not ready to be let down his corrupt officials. He thus threatened to jail any official accused of corruption.

“There are flies that must be fumigated because they disturb our investors by becoming parasites to them. We are going to lock them up…we shall wipe it out as long as we get facts,” Museveni said.

The $620m industrial park commonly known as Sukulu phosphate comprehensive industrial project is implemented by Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group Uganda Limited.

It sits on about 6,500 acres of land in Osukuru Sub County, Tororo district which was gifted to the Chinese firm in 2012 after it successfully conducted geological surveys leading to the firm’s acquisition of a 25-year mining license.

It comprises of the expansive Uganda-China (Guangdong) free zone of International Industrial co-operation, steel production, glass making and producing Iron Slag Powder, brick making, shear butter production and a phosphate fertiliser production plant which will produce bio-organic fertilisers.

In the initial stages, it will be producing 50,000 tons at the start which will grow to 100,000 tons as the demand grows even beyond borders across the region.

The industry is going to be the first in East Africa to carry out the full production from mining of minerals, separating them from ore or dressing and processing them int final products.

The President who toured the phosphate fertiliser plant and other upcoming factories was happy to note that once the factories are fully operational, Uganda would no longer need to import fertilisers, glass, steel and Iron and this would save the country lots of money.

“In 2013 Uganda was spending 50 million dollars on importing fertilisers from china but this will stop. we were spending 23 million dollars on glass per year…all these imports will stop and instead we will be exporting to the region,” Museveni said.

Museveni said that the establishment of mineral factories in the region delayed was because the government and other private companies in Uganda did not have enough capital to invest as well as money to compensate the people who were on the land.

“It was selected as free Preferential Trade Area to produce minerals for COMESA but we did not have enough capital… So, the Chinese came and we explained to them and they accepted to invest,” Museveni said.

The President of Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group Uganda Limited, Lv Weidong said that after the completion of first phase of the project, 1,400 people would be employed and by the completion of the second phase, the complex will have over 3,000 workers.

The Chinese ambassador to Uganda, Zheng Zhuuang said, the Sukulu project is the biggest Chinese private investment in Uganda.