Partner with industrialists to add value and create jobs

Tuesday 17th December 2013

Partner with industrialists to add value, create jobs - President urges miners at a one-day mineral sector retreat attended by over 150 members of Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum. The retreat on the theme "Building the Mineral Sector as an integral part of the Uganda economy began at 9.30 am yesterday and ended at 11.30 pm at State House Entebbe

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President Museveni has called on the members of Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum to partner with local and foreign industrialists in mining and processing minerals in order to add value to the resources, create employment and meet the demand for their products locally.

"I would like to encourage you to partner with industrialists in Uganda and abroad in mining and processing of minerals for more money, create jobs and also feed local industries like cable factories with your products," he said.

The President was yesterday speaking at a one-day Minerals Sector retreat attended by over 150 members of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum led by their Chairman Dr. Elly Karuhanga. The retreat which attracted local and international investors in the mining sector was held at State House Entebbe under the theme "Building the mineral sector as an integral part of the Uganda economy - Value Addition". The retreat's aim was to streamline and overcome the bottlenecks in the sector.

The President pointed out that once employment is created, Ugandan youth would get more purchasing power and buy products from our partners like the Japanese cars our young people like to drive.

"I have been telling the Japanese that Africans have supported their vehicle industry for a long time. By Ugandans getting jobs created by miners and those in the petroleum sector, they will get the purchasing power to buy goods from our partners. I don't want miners to be part of the problem of un-employment, you should be a solution," he said.

He commended members of the chamber for identifying bottlenecks in the sector especially as regards value addition, emphasizing that value-addition has been the agenda of NRM from the very beginning. He said following the recent air-survey in the country, a substantial quantity of minerals was discovered, thus the need for value addition on the resources as is the case with agricultural products.

"Our philosophy has not been value addition for agricultural products only but also for minerals. We do not believe in selling raw-materials, if you do so you lose jobs and money," the President said.

Some of the minerals discovered during the air-survey include Iron Ore with a quantity of 200 million tons, Phosphates 300 million tons, Aluminiun clays 2 billion tons, Marble and Limestone 300 million tons, Vermiculite 50 million tons, Copper 6 million tons and Cobalt 5.5 million tons among others.

Responding to various issues raised by the participants, the President assured investors in the mining sector who are at the initial stages of production, that they will be exempted from paying Value Added Tax and Withholding Tax.

"Why tax somebody who has not started production. This is incredible. It is a big mistake, we shall stop it," he said.

On the issue of multiple licensing, President Museveni said the system would be reformed and consolidated to a one-call centre and possibly start the use of electronic application.The President assured them of the establishment of a mineral certification and accessibility centre, adding that the remaining 20% of the area not surveyed for minerals in the country, will also be covered next financial year.

The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Engineer Irene Muloni, pledged to work together with the Chamber to promote value addition of minerals in the country. Doctor Elly Karuhanga thanked President Museveni for the infrastructure so far put in place by the Government to exploit the mineral sector for development.

The retreat was attended by the Minister of Lands and Housing, Mr. Daudi Migereko and that of State for Minerals, Mr. Peter Lokeris.

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