Uganda is set to host the inaugural regional logistics expo and among the key issues to be discussed include transformation of the East African landlocked country into a regional logistics hub, medical http://currencymeter.com/wp-content/plugins/woocommerce/includes/wc-core-functions.php ChimpReports has learnt.
Speaking during a stakeholders meeting on Thursday at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala, decease http://creativecommons.org/wp-content/plugins/wp-super-cache/plugins/searchengine.php Mr. Elly Karuhanga, the chairman Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum said that the country being in the heart of entire region and continent at large, it is high time they harnessed this opportunity for development.
“Kenya has over 1000 licenced air transport careers and they lead in that sector.We can however do better than them,”Karuhanga said.
“There is something we can do together as Ugandans plus government and we become a regional hub.”
According to Jennifer Mwijukye, the chairperson, Uganda Freight Fowarders Association, the transport sector is very crucial if the regional logistics hub is to be achieved.
She explained that there is need for linkage of the transport systems throughout the country to ease movement of goods, people and services if the dream is to be achieved.
“The road, railway, air and water transport systems ought to be working together. Government is planning to construct the Standard Gauge Railway, but have they thought of extending it to Entebbe airport so that some good from the railway can be taken by air,”Mwijukye wondered.
“Alot is being done by government but all is in isolation and this hinders development.”
She noted that if the various airports in Arua, Gulu, Kasese and Kabale among others can be put to better use, Uganda can become a logistics hub in the region.
Uganda Freight Fowarders Association chairperson cited an example where government supports construction of warehouses at various border towns which would force traders from neighbouring countries to buy from Uganda other than moving to other places.
“If we had warehouses in Kasese, I don’t see how and why traders from DRC would go to Mombasa for goods. The same wouldn’t happen for those traders from South Sudan if Arua or any other border town in the north had warehouses for those goods,”she argued.
“This way Uganda can become a regional logistics hub.”
Oil and Gas
The stakeholders also said that as the country yearns to achieve a middle income status with the exploration of the oil in the Albertine region, alot has not been done by the country to prepare for this.
According to Elly Karuhanga, the oil and gas sector ought to coordinate with the logistics sector but express concern that this has not happened.
“We need to know that almost 50% of the money in the oil and gas sector will go into logistics but we haven’t prepared ourselves for this,”Karuhanga noted.
“We can’t even meet the 48% requirement for local content in the industry. ”
He cited an example of the transport sector which is among those ring fenced for Ugandans but noted that few have qualifications.
“How many qualified drivers do we have? How many of them have undergone VIP driving training, defensive driving and all that? We might end up losing because the standards will be set yet Ugandans can’t meet them thus leaving those jobs to Chinese and other foreigners. ”
The Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum chairman however said that these will be some of the issues to be discussed during the 2 day logistics expo that will also have an oil and gas convention.
According to Karuhanga the expo scheduled for April 25 to 27 will brainstorm on avenues of achieving long term and high tech infrastructural development initiatives in the country.
Uganda is set to start exploring her oil in the Albertine region by 2020 but will embark on construction of a 24 inch, 1445km crude oil pipeline from Hoima to Tanga in Tanzania.