By Faustine Odeke
The Government has outsourced a co-investor, who will partner with the Chinese to revamp the multimillion China-Uganda Free Zone Industrial Complex at Osukuru in Tororo district.
Prime Minister Robina Nabbanja said negotiations with the investor, from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), were in advanced stages on the modalities of the partnership to enable the resumption of work .
The complex stalled a year after being commissioned by President Yoweri Museveni in 2018.
“We held a meeting with the President on Friday and we agreed that the UAE investor should come in because the region badly needs fertilisers to boost agricultural production,’’ she said.
Nabbanja made the remarks while presiding over the fundraising ceremony for Tororo Market Women Vendors SACCOS at King George Memorial stadium in Tororo town on Saturday. It was organised by Yeri Apollo Ofwono, the Tororo MP.
The Prime Minister’s pronouncement came barely two weeks since she visited the company premises in Sukulu hills, Kayoro sub-county to inspect the investments, identify challenges and come up with lasting solutions.
Nabbanja, who was excited about the big investment after carrying out an aerial survey, was shocked by the number of machinery that had become obsolete due to tear and wear.
She later formed a cabinet subcommittee, headed by science minister Dr Monica Musenero, to come up with a comprehensive report within a month to guide on how to address challenges that are holding back the company from taking off.
Geoffrey Ekanya (Tororo North) thanked the Government for its efforts in wooing investors to revamp the production of phosphate fertilisers.
He, however, urged the Government to have clear terms on what exploration the investor will undertake, saying surveys have showed that Sukulu hills have many minerals.
Ekanya asked the Government to speed up the process of partnering with the investor so that the production of fertilisers can start.
Fredrick Angura (Tororo South) called on the Government to expedite the issue in order to address the plight of the local community, who feel cheated in terms of local development.
Angura also noted that other investors who had expressed interest in the free trade area should be allowed to participate as they resolve the issues of the phosphate industry.
The project was forced to close after the directors of Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group Uganda Limited were ordered to pay $8m with an interest of 8% per year to the proprietor of Fang Fang Hotel, Fang Min.
Fang Min sued the company over illegal transfer of exploration licence number 1,178 from Uganda Hui Neng Mining Limited to Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group Uganda Limited.