Baz Waiswa

Baz Waiswa

East Africa Recognizes Sudhir Ruparelia Leadership Skills

Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia’s star continues to shine and his influence on the African continent continues to be felt despite being involved in a lengthy and unprecedented legal battle with Bank of Uganda following the closure of Crane Bank, a commercial bank he founded in 1995.

On Thursday, October 11, 2018, PML Daily, an online news publisher reported that the businessman whose investment interests range from insurance, real estate, entertainment, hotels, resorts, education and agriculture has been voted the East African leader of 2018.

His experience in business leadership has inspired many people in the East African region and beyond and for that matter the profilers of the East African Book of Records saw it fit to bestow him that honour.

An official ceremony to present the award will be organized towards the end of October and delegates from all the East African countries will read citations in Honor of Mr. Ruparelia.

The East African Book of Records said Dr. Ruparelia joins a number of other personalities including Presidents Museveni, Jakaya Kikwete, Uhuru Kenyatta, President Edgar Lungu of Zambia, who have received similar awards before.

Dr. Ruparelia has risen from a youthful Ugandan exiled in London driving taxi to one of the richest Africans. Hi businesses employee close to 10,000 people directly and indirectly. He is an inspiration to many aspiring entrepreneurs on the African continent.

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Uganda Mineral Sector Underexplored, UCMP Boss Tells Investors

Stakeholders, especially investors, attending the seventh mineral wealth conference organized by Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) at Kampala Serena Hotel have been told that Uganda as a s resource rich country has been under explored and should be in the next mining destination.  

The conference which concludes tomorrow is running under the theme: "Eastern Africa: The continent's next mining and Investment haven,". The conference also has an exhibition center with over 45 companies showcasing their products and services.

Richard Kaijuka, chairman UCMP Board of Trustees in his welcome remarks emphasized that Uganda is endowed enormously with a variety of minerals but have been under explored. Even with this under-exploration Kaijuka said Uganda has a number of exciting mining project on going.

Zacary Baguma, the acting director geological survey and mines (DGSM) at the ministry of energy and mineral development (MEMD), revealed that Uganda has metallic minerals, industrial minerals, gemstones and geothermal energy which were confirmed after the 2007 airbone geophysical survey.

The airbone geophysical survey only covered 80 percent of the country, the 20 percent being Karamoja region which was omitted due to insecurity in the region then.

Baguma said mineral production increased between 2012 and 2013 but a ban on exportation of metallic minerals by government saw that performance go down in 2014 and 2015. A lift on the same ban is now seeing the minerals production go up.

Robert Kasande, the permanent secretary ministry of MEMD said after the coming into play of the mining policy, government is working on concluded the review of the mining act. HE said this process is expected to be over before end of this year.

He said the law will will streamline the licensing of miners, organize artisanal miners, address issues of gender inequalities and child labour, health and safety issues and value addition. On value addition, Kasande said will ensure risk reduction for investors.

To fully increase exploration and utilization of the country’s minerals, government is working with European European to prioritize development minerals under the ACP-EU programme.

Thomas Ole-Kuyan, deputy country director (operations) said development minerals which are mainly used locally improve livelihoods for people involved, creates jobs and contributes to general development of a country.

He called on government to put in place the right policy and legislation to guarantee a condusive environment for mining sector to thrive. The ACP-EU supported the creation and passing of the mining policy, strengthens capacity for artisanal miners, promotes gender equality among others.

Seventh Mining Wealth Conference Kicks Off In Kampala

Local miners and investors and a recognizable number from Africa and the world are convening at Kampala Serena Hotel to discuss investment in the mining sector at the seventh mineral wealth conference organized by Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP).

The conference which concludes tomorrow is running under the theme: "Eastern Africa: The continent's next mining and Investment haven,". The conference also has an exhibition center with over 45 companies showcasing their products and services.

Richard Kaijuka, chairman UCMP Board of Trustees in his welcome remarks emphasized that Uganda is endowed enormously with a variety of minerals but have been under explored. Even with this under-exploration Kaijuka said Uganda has a number of exciting mining project on going.

Kaijuka, a former energy minister, however noted that Uganda is beginning to attract world class investors. He called on government even with their challenges to focus on the sector by doing the needful including putting in place testing laboratories within the country because currently they have to ship loads of soil samples to either Tanzania or Europe.

Robert Kasande, the permanent secretary ministry of energy and mineral development reiterated government’s commitment to ensuring sustainable development of the mining sector so that it can contribute to the GDP and national development plan.   

“Government accords high priority to development of the mining sector. We have recently put in place the new mining policy to develop the mining industry, stimulate the sector and attract investment and ensure local participation to enhance the economy.” Similarly, he mining law is being reviewed for amendment to improve the sector.

H.E Attillio Pacific, head delegation of the European Union to Uganda, called on miners to adhere to transparency tendencies when doing business in the sector. He called on investors to always put in mind the values of transparency when making key investments.

The conference has been supported an assortment of private sector players who are eyeing business deals in the mining industry.

Karuma Hydro Power Project Completion Extended By One

The completion date for the highly awaited 600MW Karuma Hydro Power Project has been extended by one year. The contractor Sinohydro Corporation Limited has cited challenges such as land acquisition, delayed construction of transmission lines that has led to delays in the project. In the past the project also faced problems of cracks and shoddy works.

President Yoweri Museveni recently visited the project as announcements were made to signal the extension of completion deadlines. The project is located on the Nile River in Kyandongo District in mid-northern Uganda, 110km downstream of Lake Kyoga, and 270km from Kampala the Capital of Uganda..

The overall physical progress of works as of July 2018 stood at 80%. This translates into 67.3% for civil works. The $1.7b project cost is met by government of Uganda (15%) and EXIM Bank of China soft loan (85%). The project is expected to generate increased power for industrial, domestic use and for exports to the region.

The president toured the underground tunnels, the concrete dam, underground powerhouse, transformer, surge chamber of the project and addressed the workers, contractors and local leaders of the area. During the address the president commended the contractor for the good progress of the work.

He explained that he came to see the power house and dam structure before they were submerged by power as the project enters into its completion phase. On 12th August 2013 construction works was launched by Museveni and 16th December, 2013 was the project commencement date with a duration targeted at 60 months (five years).

He noted that he would return for the final commissioning of the project next year where celebrations are expected.

The president said the project was expected to generate 200MW by the end of this year, when two turbine units become operational.

The president asked the leaders of Kiryandango district to provide one square of mile of land for the construction of an industrial park. He said the park will have factories for food processing, juice making and other industries and will use the power stepped down from Karuma as it would be produced at high voltages.

He said power will be available to the local people and it should be used for productive activities. He urged Ugandans to use the power to do big business advising that big towns should start doing big business employing many people.

The president directed the ministry of education and sports to provide vocational skills to the youth of the project area using the technical school at Kiryandongo.

The president recalled that earlier developers had planned to build Karuma to generate 200MW which he rejected. He explained that the contract was given to Sinohydro Corporation, a big company that could handle the magnitude of the project.

The Chinese Ambassador to Uganda Mr. Zheng Zhuqiang expressed with gratitude that the project was a good example of China Uganda economic cooperation.

Mr. Zhuqiang said that by 2017 $150m (sh570b) has been spent on local content materials such as cement steel, wood, vehicles.

He said when the project was complete it would produce $200m (sh760b) in revenues annually equivalent to 1% of Uganda’s GDP. “Power is a bottleneck for the development in Africa. China is helping address this bottleneck,” he said. He noted that the Karuma project has created over 6,000 jobs.

The ambassador added that the Chinese Government was supporting the construction of Isimba Dam, Entebbe Airport Expansion and the Kampala to Entebbe Expressway and the construction of several industrial parks which will create over 30,000 jobs.

The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Eng. Irene Muloni explained that the construction of the power plant is in progress with 80% completion achieved while the transmission lines are at 42%.

Eng. Muloni said the construction of transmission lines delayed because of the challenges of land acquisition where only 70% of the required project land has been acquired to date. The minister noted that the ministry of finance has provided all the funds needed to carry out the Resettlement Action Plan.

She noted that because of the delay to acquire land for the transmission lines, the contractor has asked to revise the completion date of the project from December 2018 to December 2019.

“The contractor has indicated that the first two units of 100mw each will be commissioned by December 2018 while the last unit will be commissioned in July 2019. Full commissioning and commercial operations date is dependent on the earliest completion of the Karuma Interconnection Project expected by December 2019,” Muloni said.

She said the ministry together with the implementing agencies are to implement the Community Development Action Plan whose main objective is to address pressure on local social infrastructure, social services, livelihoods and natural resources. The three districts to benefit from the plan are Oyam, Nwoya and Kiryandongo districts.

Eng. Muloni disclosed that the contractor has agreed to donate two hospitals, a civilian one in Oyam district and a military one in Masindi district.

The contractor will donate one primary school in the project area, set up a study fund for orphans and hand over the contractors camps and offices to Government.

“The sites for the construction of the aforementioned facilities were identified and the EPC Contractor is to commence with construction works at the identified sites,” Eng. Muloni explained.

Mr. Joseph Oryem, LCI Chairperson Karuma Cell welcomed the positive impact of the project on Karuma Town Council. Oryem highlighted that there was good cooperation between Sinohydro Corporation and the community in garbage management, the contractor has constructed two boreholes for the community, they have built a new market for the community.

Mr. Oryem said other support provided by contractor included creation of jobs for the youth and opening up access roads especially Karuma Primary School access road. He called for the improved welfare of employees working at the project.

On key features of the project; on civil works of the dam the concreting works in all the dam blocks are completed except few blocks in the stilling basin with percent complete ticked at 100 %. On the surge chamber concreting is going on left and right surge chambers percent completed 75 %, power house work (69.4 %), lowering of turbine shaft and runner in unit 2, 3 completed.

On the power intake the installation of emergency gates for all the six units completed. Installation of gantry crane for maintenance gate in progress. The removal of bracings and painting for penstock is in progress.

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