11th APRIL 2013 - Hima Cement Limited has been in a dispute for over one year with a company that sought Hima Cement's core limestone reserves in Kasese. Hima Cement Limited successfully challenged the grant in an Administrative Review process that was conducted in accordance with the Mining Act, where it cited various instances of breach of the requirements of the law in the handover of its mining rights to the third party. The said matter went to the High Court and has now progressed to the Court of Appeal. A stay of the orders of the High Court has been applied for and granted and the appeal process has been commenced seeking to overturn the ruling of the High Court on the following grounds:
Hima Cement Limited was originally registered in 1994 as Hima Cement (1994) Limited. It duly changed its name to the current Hima Cement Limited in 1999 and it has been filling its annual returns and all its company documents under the said name since 1999. Indeed Hima Cement Limited has a certificate of change of name issued by the registrar of companies in 1999 signifying the said change.
The Government has dealt with Hima Cement Limited under the said name since 1999. It has collected taxes from the said entity and the entity has filed various statutory returns, none of which has ever been rejected by the said registry or any other relevant Government Department and for this reason it is therefore totally surprising that anyone would assert that Hima Cement Limited doesn't exist.
Therefore, Hima Cement Limited as a duly registered company and as an interested party had every right to petition the Minister for Energy and Mineral Development by way of Administrative Review to consider their complaint against the grant of an Exploration License over an area where it has all its manufacturing and other operations.
It is on record that in 2010, Hima Cement Limited invested over $120 million in a new factory to double its production capacity to 850,000 metric tons of cement per year. The decision to make this investment was driven by the availability of adequate reserves of limestone in the now contested area. This decision was made with the full knowledge and support from the Government of Uganda and with comprehensive investment plans presented to the Department of Geological Surveys and Mines.
Hima Cement Limited pays over UGX 40 billion in taxes to the Government of Uganda annually making it one of the biggest tax payers and it directly and indirectly employs over 2,000 people ranging from its own Ugandan staff employees, transporters, suppliers of raw materials for manufacture as well as distributors. It is of note that the Company is also in the process of a significant investment of UGX 8 billion in a plant (bag filter) upgrade which is scheduled to be completed within the first half of 2013. It is also important to note that increased cement production has saved the country over $1 Billion in foreign exchange which can be deployed elsewhere to improve infrastructure and provision of social services.