The Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) is celebrating, after Tororo Cement Limited became the latest company to join it.
UCMP hopes that TCL, one of the mainstays in the recent history of the country’s mining industry, will bring with it considerable clout to the budding organisation. In a press statement, UCMP said TCL was also one of the sponsors of the UCMP-organised Mineral Wealth Conference, slated for October 1-2, in Kampala.
By joining UCMP, an association charged with encouraging, protecting and fostering responsible exploration and participation in the mining and petroleum sectors, TCL will now have counterparts with similar concerns, which should strengthen its own bargaining position in relations with the government. In the statement released last week, UCMP talks up TCL’s credentials, pointing out that it is Uganda’s largest manufacturer of cement, producing 1.8 million tonnes a year.
“We have strived to stay at the very top in Uganda’s mining sector, operating in the districts of Tororo, Kapchorwa, [and] Moroto,” the statement quotes TCL Managing Director B.M Gagrani as saying. “And we do all this within the country’s mining and environmental regulations. As such, Tororo Cement contributes about Shs 1.5 billion ($0.6m) annually to the exchequer.”
Tororo Cement Ltd’s owners gave the company its present name after acquiring it from the government in 1995. Today, the company directly employs 900 people while providing approximately 16,000 indirect jobs in the Tororo district area. This is notwithstanding its mining operations in Kapchorwa and Moroto districts, where clinker and marble come from.
Besides, the statement said, TCL is among the top seven contributors to the Uganda Revenue Authority, and has undertaken numerous corporate social responsibility initiatives within its expansive area of operation. Among its challenges, TCL lists the high foreign exchange conversion costs paid on the many imports needed in the running of the company.
“Uganda being landlocked, there is a high importation of major inputs like fuel, minerals, [and] spares among others,” Gagrani says in the statement.
Reliable electricity is also a rarity, which means the cost of fuel is another concern. The company also complains of a dearth in skilled manpower and other support infrastructure. But overall, TCL pronounces itself optimistic about the future.
“There are positive steps by the state to improve the road network, skilled labour, banking and telecommunication, plus rapid industrialisation. These developments will play a very positive role in our industry once they come to fruition,” Gagrani adds.
Source : The Observer