Kampala. Local cement and steel manufacturing firms are set to reap at least $700 million (about Shs2.538 trillion) from selling cement and steel products when the $12.8 billion (Shs46.4 trillion) Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) construction begins.
The coordinator of the SGR project, Mr Kasingye Kyamugambi, told Daily Monitor that the multimillion dollar deals are provided for under the provisions of the Local Content policy, which aims at improving value addition in Uganda by giving preference to locally available goods and raw materials, use of local facilities and employing Ugandans in providing services. “It entails Local Content and we have planned that at least $700 million should be spent locally,” Mr Kyabagambi said.
The multi-billion dollar railway line was agreed to in 2011 by regional leaders including Presidents Yoweri Museveni, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and South Sudan’s Salva Kiir. It was commissioned at a function held in Munyonyo in 2014.
The project which will be funded by the Chinese government through the Export-Import Bank of China will require large quantities of cement and steel. So far, several local producers have been encouraged to re-equip their factories to meet the contractors’ quality demands.
“We showed manufacturers how to configure their manufacturing process to make that special grade cement,” he added.
The acting chief executive officer of Hima Cement which will be supplying the bulk of the cement for the project, Mr Allan Semakula, told Daily Monitor that the firm has developed two special brands of cement, Powercrete 52.5 - the highest strength cement product ever produced in East Africa according to the company and Powerplus 42.5, specifically for the SGR. “When used, Powercrete produces a unique concrete that is highly durable and resistant to aggressive chemical attack,” he said.