The unfavorable policies governing mineral exploitation in Uganda have stunted the minerals sector and prevented it from significantly contributing to the country’s GDP, experts said on Tuesday.
The remarks were made during an E-conference 2020 by Mineral Africa Development Institute (MADI), a non -governmental organization.
The discussion was featured on NBS television.
Much as Uganda is blessed with vast mineral resources such as gold, marble, tin, stone products among others, experts said the legal framework asserts that the government holds these resources on behalf of the people of Uganda.
According to the assistant commissioner in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Vincent Kedi, much as Africans attract a lot of investments, they don’t benefit from their resources because of the legal frameworks in place.
Kedi said there is need to have a new mine bill since we are at the transformative stage because with the current status quo, the country is unlikely to benefit from its resources.
“Many of our local people are usually consulted but the problem in the extractive and mining sector is that people rush to surrender their surface rights like land. When mining, you have to mine within the law. This has been a challenge,”Kedi said.
Frank Mugyenyi, the founder and chairman of MADI, said the present policies and laws have always focused on extraction of our minerals not value addition.
“We need to attract investment for adding value. To add value, you need to invest in infrastructure. All the stakeholders in the minerals sector have to be consulted when making decisions,”he said.
Mugyenyi explained countries need to strategize on how the mining should be done because there is a lot in the minerals that people don’t know.
“To benefit from the minerals sector, we have to understand clearly what is beneath the ground. Africa is endowed and it’s future relationship with the rest of the world is because of our resources,”he said.
Dr. Jennifer Hinton, the country head of Jervois Mining Limited, said Africa has to reduce this risk to attract more investors.
“Internationally, countries do a lot of comparison among fellow countries such as risk of expatriation, legal framework, political environment among others,”she said.
She noted geological surveys play a key role because its something companies look at internationally and domestically to access the geological risk.
“There is a history of large scale mining in Uganda at Kilembe. Mining is a high-risk investment, so attracting people willing to invest in it is hard. We need to find a way to attract people to invest in these deposits,”she noted.