Chinese investors decry power outages in Mukono

Saturday September 22 2018

Affected.  Workers of Tian Tang Group Steel

Affected. Workers of Tian Tang Group Steel Manufacturing Factory at Mukono Industrial Park on Thursday. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA  


KAMPALA. Chinese investors running the Tian Tang Industrial Park at Mbalala in Mukono District have decried power outages in the area and asked authorities to intervene.
The investors complained that the recurrent power outages have damaged their equipment and increased the cost of production.
Established in 2009 by Mr Paul Zhang, the chairman of Tian Tang Group of companies, the industrial park has four factories: Tian Tang Steel which manufactures steel products like iron bars; Com Foam for mattress; Hong Wai Wood that makes plywood; and Unistrong Investments, makers of iron sheets.
Tian Tang Group is also developing Mbale industrial park where eight Chinese companies have pledged to invest about $600m (Shs2.2 trillion) in rice processing, glass manufacturing and household appliances, among others.
Speaking during a media tour on Thursday organised by the Chinese Embassy, Mr Andy Liang, the Tian Tang Group vice general manager, said they have complained to the power distributor, Umeme but the problem has persisted.
“Our biggest problem is unstable electricity. On Wednesday there was no power for the whole day. Our machines cannot be run by generators and there are no other alternative powers sources,” Mr Liang said.
He urged the government to prevail over Umeme and ensure there is stable power supply to the industrial park that employs about 1,500 Ugandans.

Umeme speaks out
The Umeme spokesperson, Mr Stephen Illungole, promised to investigate the complaint.
Mr Illungole reiterated that the technical data from the power usage logs by factories through Automated Meter Readings does not show such power outages in the industrial park.
“I am hearing this for the first time. What our technical team tells me is that the line for the said factory has been stable. The only challenge was the vandalisation of the towers in Mbalala, which was fixed. Everyone is happy now,” Mr Illungole said.
“Umeme technical team will follow up with the management of Tian Tang Industrial Park and if there is any issues, they will be solved,” he added.
The investors also complained of flooding, which they said is as a result of poor drainage system on the Jinja Highway.
Mr Liang revealed that the matter has been reported to Uganda National Roads Authority.
The Investment minister, Ms Evelyn Anite, yesterday promised to investigate all the issues raised by Tian Tang Group and explained that “the government is working hard to increase power supply and reduce the cost of production”.
“These investors have created jobs for our people. As government, we are giving them incentives so that they can establish factories here,” she said.