Kampala — The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) will need 800,000 tonnes of cement of all grades and 85,000 of reinforcement steel.
For now, though, these are indicative figures, according to the SGR project's coordinator, Mr Kasingye Kyamugabi.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos, 2014), Uganda manufactures 2.2 million tonnes of cement, annually.
The local market consumes 1.7 million tonnes of that annually.
Uganda exports the surplus (500,000 tonnes) to, among other countries, South Sudan.
However, even if it were not to export the 500,000 tonnes, they would be 300,000 tonnes short the 800,000 tonnes needed for the SGR project.
That means the local manufacturers who have positioned themselves to supply the project should by now have readied to operate at not less than 100 per cent of their installed production capacity.
Whatever the case, though, Uganda is likely to import cement to seal any gaps.
And that would not be the first time Uganda would be importing cement. Ubos' 2014 Statistical Abstract says in 2013, Uganda imported 322,000 tonnes of cement.
An SGR official said it is up to the cement manufacturers to decide on whom to supply.
He said now that they have shared the indicative quantities and quality need, the local manufacturers know what is needed.
In February, Daily Monitor reported that government was engaging Roofings Ltd, Madhvani, Steel & Tube and Steel Rolling Mills, the four major steel factories, to prepare them to supply the SGR project.
The government would go ahead and allocate them $7.2 million (Shs25.7 billion).
The money was to enable the factories put in place equipment to make the steel products.
Of the planned 1,724 kilometres of SGR, Uganda will start by constructing the 273km stretch from Malaba in eastern Uganda to Kampala in central Uganda.
The estimated cost for the entire 1,724km SGR network in Uganda is $12.8 billion.
Further, the feasibility estimates are refined during design/engineering - leading to engineer's estimates.
Uganda's steel factories 'manufacture' just upwards of 500, 000 tonnes of steel annually of which they export about a fifth.