Unitor pulls out of controversial Uganda project
By Harald Eraker
- This is a grotesque example of development, researcher Eirik G. Jansen commented to NorWatch in 1996 on the consequences for the local population of the export of Nile perch from Lake Victoria.
The NORAD-supported fish fillet factory Clovergem Fish & Food in Uganda is one of many companies that have been eager to take part in the export-oriented fishery.
According to Jansen's studies, the activities have left the local population virtually with nothing but fish bones, while the choice fish fillets have been exported to the West.
Ticon Isolering was the Norwegian player in this project when NORAD approved a NOK 10,000 loan, plus NOK 325,000 for training purposes. In 1994 Ticon was bought by Unitor (see NorWatch No. 3-96).
- We have sent a formal letter to NORAD informing them that we're selling our share of the Uganda factory. The reason for our decision is of business-related nature.
- Unitor's main activity is to be a supplier of maritime equipment. We have no first-hand knowledge of the fillet factory in Uganda and the issues you have raised. With 19% of the shares, we have no influence, says finance director Per Terje Nordheim of Unitor.
Head of NORAD's Department for Industrial Cooperation, Halvard Lesteberg, confirms that NORAD has been informed that Unitor will pull out of the Clovergem factory.
- It is correct that we set as a condition that the Clovergem project should have Norwegian participation in terms of ownership. We are now working with the East African Development Bank to see if we can transfer our loan for the Clovergem project to them, says Lesteberg, adding that this is the first time as long as he has worked with NORAD that a Norwegian company is pulling out of a project in this manner.
Norwatch Newsletter 2/98