Cement manufacturer, Hima Cement, is set to double its production capacity next year. The company is finalising plans to increase its production to approximately 850,000tpa, a 142 per cent rise from the current 350,000t it manufactures.
The plant’s expansion could be a boom to Uganda’s construction industry, which still imports large quantities of expensive cement from Kenya. The cement plant, located along the western fringes of the country, is currently establishing a new manufacturing facility- the Rwenzori Plant at Kasese, whose completion is expected to cost US$102m (about KES224.4bn) and is projected to produce an additional 500,000tpa. The new facility is being constructed by CBMI of China.
Construction work, which started in 2007, will be over by January 2010 and cement packaging is supposed to start in February. "We are looking at an additional 500,000t," plant manager, Allen Mate said during a tour of the new plant by the State Minister for Industry and Technology, Rev. Simon Lokodo recently.
Although the production increase is seen as a boost to the construction sector, Rev. Lokodo said it was "a drop in the ocean" given the current high demand for cement both domestically and regionally. Some critics say the current shortage of the product in the market results from increased exportation of cement to neighbouring countries of Democratic Republic of Congo, Southern Sudan and Rwanda.
According to Mr Mate, out of the 350,000t Hima presently produces, about 90 per cent (315,000t) ends up in the regional market and only 35,000t (10 per cent) serves the domestic demand- mostly western Uganda.
He said Hima cannot supply cement to the market in Kampala, northern and eastern regions given the far distance. He said Tororo Cement Industry (TCI) has an edge to the far markets because of their eased accessibility by TCI.