The Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) has asked the Government to ensure that there is a Conducive Environment that can entice investors to invest in Uganda’s Mining Sector whose performance towards the Gross Domestic Product is still very low.
“Government need to ensure that Uganda is competitive in attracting serious Investors to come and Invest in the Mining sector.
“As a country, we are still losing billions of money because the majority of the players are still Artisanal miners.
“This has impacted big towards the development of the sector which has the potential contribute significantly to Uganda’s Economy,” said the Chamber Council Chairman Dr Elly Karuhanga who was addressing the media at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development about the upcoming 8th Annual Mineral Wealth Conference slated to take place from the 2nd to 3rd October at the Serena Kampala Hotel .
Karuhanga said that although Uganda is among African Countries endowed with Minerals, the stage at which such prestigious resources are being exploited is still at an Infant stage.
He noted that the Mining sector alone has the capacity to contribute about 90% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product but this cannot be achieved if there are, no strong legal regimes that protect both the Investors and the Government at large.
Karuhanga warned the government against putting too much emphasis on Oil and Gas as the only sector that can bring more revenues to Uganda.
“We shall not explore oil for more than 40 years but with the mining sector, Uganda is endowed with huge number of various mineral deposits that can be exploited for more than 60 years.
“So Government should consider the sector as a great potential towards driving the Social and Economic Development of the Country,” added Karuhanga.
At the same event, the UCMP Board of Trustees Chairman Sir Richard Kaijuka noted that for Uganda to be competitive, the government should come up with innovations that can lower the cost of doing business in the Mining subsector.
He stressed that currently, there’s no Laboratory in the country that can do Mineral Analysis which has affected many investors in the mining industry.
“Government needs to put up such Infrastructures in place, the majority of the mineral samples from Uganda are flown outside for Laboratory testing which increases the cost of doing business to the Investors. Government need to establish these Infrastructures here for the good of the sector, “said Kaijuka.
Responding to the issues raised by the top leaders at the Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, the Assistant Commissioner Geology in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Gabriel Data said the Government is coming up with new innovations that will make the Country’s Mining sector more attractive for both local and International Investors.
Among the key innovations, Data said are in offing is the recent government announcement of the creation of an online platform that will make the licensing process easier and faster for the investors and the proposed signing of the Extractive Industries Transparency Infinitive.
“We hope that by Applying online this will reduce the incidences of corruption and time taken for one to apply for the License which is currently a big challenge to the investors in the Mining Sector,” noted Data.
However, Data said that although the sector is still faced with many challenges, the mining sector is registering positive progress because many investors have now applied for Mining licenses and leases for various minerals across the country.
Among the companies that are undertaking considerable exploration for the various minerals across the country include Samta Mines, Wagagai Mines, African Mineral Resources among other companies.
The 2019 Mineral Wealth Conference is expected to attract more than 500 participants across the region.
The President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is expected to be the Chief Guest alongside keynote speakers who will include the Executive Director of National Planning Authority.
The conference is being organized by Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO.