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Hima Considers Diverting Shs930.5bn Investment To Kenya

Uganda could lose up to US$ 250 million (over Shillings 930.5Billion ) investment by Hima Cement Ltd to Kenya, the Chief Executive Officer, Nicolas George has revealed.  


Hima Cement Ltd. is a subsidiary of Bamburi Cement Ltd, a member of LafargeHolcim Group, a Swiss multinational company that manufactures building materials.


According to George, LafargeHolcim has a plan to invest US$ 250 million in any of the East African countries and Zambia and Malawi.  

He explains that Uganda was on top of the list as an investment destination but the tedious land acquisition process has crippled the plan. 


George told the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Land Commission on Thursday that the company has been trying to acquire land in Uganda for the past one year to set up a new cement factory in vain.



He explained that as a result, LafargeHolcim is considering diverting the investment to Kenya. 
        


To be able to open up another cement factory, Hima would have to go through the process of acquiring a prospecting license, which allows them to explore for minerals.


Then, they would need an exploration license to quantify the minerals available and ascertain the machinery required for excavation.  


The company would then process a mining lease that would permit the company to acquire land inform of surface rights for production.


George says the company has failed to acquire licenses to prospect and explore. He says there are multiple speculators who own licenses and want to transfer them to Hima Cement Ltd at about US$ 2 million.


He says that procrastination by officials in the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines has made it impossible to meet with them and hence left them to work with agents who own licenses.     

He disclosed that Hima could go out of business with its Hima plant in just eight years. George says that the limestone deposits in Hima are likely to be extinct within eight years. 


Hima had decided to look for more reserves but has failed due to failure to secure a license. The company had decided to open up another factory in Moroto District.


However, he says the challenges in land acquisition are still the same and hence, prompting them to transfer the funds to Kenya. 


Earlier this week, the former Commissioner of Geological Survey and Mines Edward Kato also alluded to the challenge of multiple speculators who own licenses.    

 

It costs about Shillings 1.85 million to acquire a license, One Million Shillings as application or preparation fees, 500,000 Shillings is for Registration, Shillings 50.000 Mineral rent and Shillings 300,000 for Gazetting grant of Exploration License.     
 

The speculators acquire licenses and transfer to other companies that have the capacity to use the licenses to explore minerals. 


The transfer is done at a cost set by the speculators, which Kato said had become a common business.  He suggested the introduction of levy a high tax on transfers to eliminate speculators.

-URN

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