Lira: Uganda’s emerging destination, industrial hub of Lango sub-region

President Museveni (in hat) on his recent visit to Mukwano factory in Lira Town. File Photo.

Dubbed the ‘northern Uganda city’ pending approval ‘soon’, Lira town (district) located 341.56 kilometers north of Kampala is getting known again internationally for many rising companies producing different kind of domestic products.

The town was known globally in the 90s for her two factories in Lira Spinning Mill and Lira Starch Factory until they both closed in 1984 and 1985 respectively.

Lira Spinning Mill, located then in the current Railway division in Lira Municipality, closed business following the collapse of cotton sector.

The collapse saw many ginneries in Lango sub region closing too thereafter.

Less than a year, another vibrant and popular factory then, employing hundreds of youth, men and women; Lira Starch Factory went into limbo.

Then, the country was undergoing a ‘political transition’ that saw most popular industries and factories whose top managers were foreigners fleeing back to their countries for their dear lives.

Since then, revamping the collapsed factories has been taking shape with almost 50 seeds factories coming into play.

Lira district leadership has been advocating for this development to come back in what they termed as “giving employment back to people”.

Alex Oremo Alot, the Lira district chairman said under private policy, government sold Lira Spinning Mill to investors.

Like central government, he says Lira district gave Starch factory to some Lango entrepreneurs for revamping.

“Unfortunately to our dismay, these people sold Starch Factory to Mukwano. We later realized those who bought it were only interested in spare parts,” he told TND News Uganda on Friday.

Asked what plans the district has, to ensure revamping of closed factories has it has long been promised; the district Chairman added that the paper works was almost done.

He added: “We are championing for Multi Industrial Plant to process cooking oil, supply clean water and employment aimed at development.”

He further says soon government will look into the paper work and advice them accordingly, urging the people of Lango Sub-region to wait for the good news on the development.

Whereas there are many factories employing youth and women in Lira, the district boss expressed annoyance at employers, calling their offers ‘unsatisfactory.’

“The contributions of private sector in these factories aren’t satisfactory- we want professionals’ employment in accounts, management, human resource departments, among other top positions,” he emphasized.

He revealed that most of the employers have recruited youth to be machine operators, winnowers, sack loaders and paid peanuts.

The district leadership called on private sector to think about taking into practice the Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR] that will look into giving scholarship to brilliant sons and daughters of the Sub-region to different universities.

Among seed factories in Lira are; A.K Oils and Fats (U) Ltd, a subsidiary of Mukwano, Al Safa Agro Ltd, IK Investment (U) Ltd, producer of sunflower vegetable cooking oil, Mt. Meru Millers also dealing in oil seed and processing of edible oils, Negtta Tropical Holdings (NTH), producer of Vargin Oil Cooking oil, Guru Nanak, among others.

Lango Sub-region has eight districts with Lira being the oldest followed by Apac district in western part. Of these, only Lira district is blessed with numerous infrastructural development and other social amenities.

Lira town (district) is also rich in hotel industry than other districts in the Sub-region with nearly 40 top hotels (guest houses) and hundreds of lodges offering convenient accommodation.

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