By Abou Kisige
THE Government in partnership with China is to create over 1,000 jobs at the completion of the new Sukulu phosphates factory in Tororo district.
“We have already acquired the exploration license of Sukulu phosphate deposits which represents the start of resource development,” said the president of Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group, L.V Weidong.
He said they are determined to see that the project benefits the Sukulu residents.
Weidong signed a memorandum of understanding with the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) executive director Eng. Frank Sebbowa at State House Entebbe recently.
The project follows a meeting between President Yoweri Museveni and President XI Jinping of China in Durban, South Africa in August this year.
Speaking to New Vision at his office in Kampala, Weidong said they are already doing an underground study to ascertain the quantity and quality of phosphate in the area.
He said two teams, together with government officials are on the ground handling land leasing, relocation and compensation of local communities.
The company intends to produce 300,000 tonnes of phosphate fertilisers and 300,000 tonnes of steel and also establish a sulfuric acid plant with a capacity of 200,000 tonnes annually. They also plan to build a 5MW power plant in the area.
“We want experts in oil and gas production, administration and management, agriculturalists, engineering and mining,” Weidong said.
Tororo County MP Geoffrey Ekanya said the people of Tororo hope that the project will transform their livelihoods.
“As I speak now, the Chinese investor is already in direct negotiations with the people. Residents are being compensated and willingly relocating to other areas to pave way for the project,” he said.
Ekanya said the company is also constructing houses for the residents as a way of compensation.
The company received funds from the China Africa Fund and China Development Bank to implement the project.
Weidong said they have also offered 20 scholarships to Ugandans to train in China in oil and gas production, management, agriculture, engineering and mining.
President Museveni thanked the company for choosing Uganda and pledged government support for the successful implementation of the project.
“The phosphate deposits in Tororo, if linked with the natural gas deposits in Tanzania, would enable the region to forget about the importation of fertilisers,” Museveni said.