Uganda’s import of clinker, the largest component in the manufacture of cement, could fall significantly after the country launched a $600 million clinker production plant in Karamoja amid concerns of shortage of the commodity in the EAC.
Industrial players say the factory by West International Holding Cement Uganda will fill the clinker gap the country faces and stabilise prices of cement on the local market.
Uganda produces one million tonnes of clinker per annum at the Tororo and Hima cement factories, against demand of nine million tonnes. The plant in Karamoja will produce four million tonnes while the subsidiary plant in Mayuge, 75 kilometres east of Kampala, will produce three million tonnes.
These cement plants come at a time data from the taxman indicates that Uganda faces a shortage of clinker. According to the Uganda Revenue Authority in 2021/2022, Uganda imported $2.7 million tonnes of clinker valued at $ 674 million. Uganda has seen an increasing demand for its cement from DR Congo and South Sudan as the two East African countries embark on huge infrastructure projects.
President Yoweri Museveni presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the plant on September 12.
“Uganda has a present cement production of over 4.5 million tonnes per year and demand is projected to increase by 15 per cent driven by a booming real estate sector, as well as infrastructure and oil and gas project,” said State Minister for Mineral Peter Lokeris.
Uganda has been importing clinker from Pakistan, Egypt and China, where production has been optimised with some plants producing up to 100,000 tonnes of clinker per day, cheaply than in Uganda, but says Uganda’s biggest advantage will be employment of people, exploitation of minerals and establishment of other related factories.