“Over the past five years, more than UGX 400 billion of taxpayer money has been spent on Atiak Sugar Project. The factory has remained closed for two years, and sugarcane meant to provide raw materials are now being sold to factories outside the region. If billions of shillings sunk into the project cannot be traced, who will revive this sugarcane factory?” (NBS Television, 13.03.2023).
This story has been going on since 11th December 2014. We are now in March 2023 and two years of closure. Meaning one year after the President Museveni commissioned the Atiak Sugar Factory on the 23rd October 2020, the factory itself got closed during 2021 and has ceased it’s operation. If this continues onto 2024. Than it is a decade lost in the trade, lack of due diligence and governmental oversight.
This is just another development project, another government investment into a cash-crop and adding value enterprise, which has fallen in dire straits. It is just horrific that people have internally displaced, lost their plots, their livelihoods and foreign investors has grabbed their lands. It is reported up to 8,000 people has lost lands in the region to facilitate the Atiak Sugar Factory. A Sugar Factory that only exists on paper, because it isn’t producing anything.
The state has already bailed out the Horyal Investment Holdings twice before 2016 and you can wonder if it will happen again. We can wonder if the state plans to it three or four times by 2024. While we know the state is working on overtime to facilitate lands in Amuru district for the Madhvani Group. It is clear that it’s an epic failure and the locals has been hurt the most. A giant massive cash-cow for someone, but not for the general public. Neither is it helping Kilak County or Amuru district.
No, this is just a painful enterprise and a lack of planning before investing, building and even considering to operate a sugar factory. It is just a wasteland of wasted potential and lack of concern of the people who was forced to move from their homeland. It is really tragic that their losses, grievances and livelihoods got eaten up by “hot-air” and nothingness.
This just what the National Resistance Movement (NRM) does… promises to save the people and securing their future. However, they cannot even get the state owned enterprises running. This is one of them and they have “lost the plot”. I am feeling sad for everyone who lost their land and was evicted. They lost the most. The investors and the foreign dignitaries thieving the land will escape any trouble. It is the poor that takes the hardest hit and the state will offer them scraps in return. Peace.