By Charles Kakamwa
President Yoweri Museveni has ordered the relevant authorities to halt exportation of iron ore mined from different parts of the country so that it is processed to enhance the growth of local industries.
Speaking during the commissioning of the expanded Steel Rolling Mills factory in Masese, Jinja district, Museveni also directed that the factory be given a tax holiday and a mining license to boost its operations.
He commended Abid Alam, the managing director of Alam Group of Companies under which the steel factory falls, for his innovations such as the steel plant, sugar factory in Kaliro and electricity production from baggase.
He noted that such initiatives contribute to creation of employment and economic growth. The $50m (about sh130b) plant is the first of its kind in East Africa.
With the new technology, the factory will shift from use of metal scrap to iron ore as the raw material in the manufacture of steel and other related products.
The ore is mined in Kabale and Kisoro districts.
At the factory, it is mixed with coal imported from South Africa and compressed before being heated to remove the iron which is needed in the manufacture of metal products.
Apart from improving the quality to ‘World Class’ standards, Alam said they anticipate to step up production from 60,000 tonnes per annum to 120,000 tonnes and thereafter increase to 1,000,000 tonnes per annum.
He commended the President whose leadership and economic policies he said had created a conducive investment climate in the country.
“Of notable importance are your clear policies of the utilisation of locally available resources to manufacture finished products,” Alam said.