BUDAKA. The construction of a multi-billion cement factory in Budaka District has stalled, six years after it was commissioned by President Museveni.
The site in Namamba Village, Mugiti Sub-county, 2kms off Mbale-Tirinyi road where the Shs300 billion factory was to be built is currently abandoned and bushy.
DAO Africa Ltd, a Saudi Arabia company owned by Saudi Arabian investors, had undertaken to build the factory.
The factory was projected to be a big cement producing factory after Tororo, Hima, Kampala and Simba.
The company was projected to produce 750 tonnes of cement per day in the first phase and later 2,500 tonnes in the second phase.
The DAO Africa Ltd finance and administration manager, Mr Hussein could not be reached for comment but earlier during the commissioning, said works were expected to kick-start soon after the ground breaking and would be completed within the next ten months.
Mr Jacob Mosiko, the Mugiti Sub-county chairperson, told Daily Monitor that residents have on several occasions during community meetings attacked them over the stalled project.
“The people are not happy with us and government. They think they were hoodwinked by the President,” Mr Mosiko, said.
He explained that the residents had voluntarily handed over their land totalling 25 acres for the construction of the factory in anticipation of economic development.
“They had high hopes of an economic boom once the cement production starts. They knew that there was going to be creation of jobs for their unemployed youth but they have been frustrated,” he said.
Mr Mosiko said all attempts to seek explanation from the factory administration have not yielded positive results.
“Attempts to seek audience with the factory administrators remain a nightmare because even their phone numbers cannot go through. We are wondering whether this project will at one time become a reality,” Mr Mosiko, said.
Ms Joan Nawire expressed dissatisfaction with the government saying their leaders sold them “hot air”
“We are not happy with the government and President Museveni himself because he promises but never fulfils,” she said.
She said if the factory had been established, it would have been a blessing to the people because they would directly benefit through acquiring jobs and improved infrastructure in the area.
During the commissioning, Mr Museveni assured the people that the factory will contribute to economic growth.
“I am very happy to be here to officiate at the ground breaking of this cement factory that will in the long-run produce 15,000 tonnes of cement per day, doubling Hima’s 9,000 annual metric tonnes,” Mr Museveni said then.
Mr Museveni noted that with such investments coming up, it will definitely create employment, market and infrastructure development because many residents will be engaged in small-scale business.
The President also said the investors were rich and had the capacity to construct the factory within the stipulated time frame.
“I don’t want to bring poor investors into the country because we are poor,” he said, adding that the country needed more investors in agro-processing industries to reduce on the exportation of raw materials.
The Budaka District chairperson, Mr Sam Mulomi, said they are still optimistic that construction will kick off.
“We are engaging the government to see that the factory is finally built,” he said.