The new directors of the board of Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) have expressed satisfaction with the pace of development of key industrial and business parks in the country.
The directors, led by the Chair, Dr Emely Kugonza, said they were happy with the significant achievements registered so far in development of the parks.
The board members last week embarked on a site visit to the various parks which include Namanve, Bweyogerere, Luzira, Jinja, Mbale, (now called Sino-Mbale Industrial Park) and Soroti.
Speaking at the end of the tour, Dr Kugonza said the board needed to appreciate the developments in the industrial parks and understand the challenges and opportunities in order to find durable and sustainable solutions to them.
He noted that as the board, they are impressed with developments of the parks but called upon all stakeholders, particularly UIA and investors involved, to do more to make all planned industrial parks operational.
The UIA Director for Industrial Parks Development, Mr. Hamza Galiwango says 38 investment projects in Namanve are fully operational, producing items like steel products, plastics, textiles, gas cylinders, packaging materials, trucks and buses.
According to Mr. Galiwango, 16 of the Top 100 taxpayers in Uganda are already operational in Namanve, including Roofings.
Over 23,000 people, he says, are employed in the park and this is expected to rise to hundreds of thousands when the park is fully operational.
Mr. Galiwango says at Namanve, 99 investment projects are at various stages of development including mega projects by Mukwano, Picfare, Vision Group, Nob Hotel, Tirupati and Uganda Industrial Research Institute, amongst others.
Luzira industrial park is fully operational with 11 projects including Cipla-Quality Chemicals, Oryx Petroleum and Graphic Systems. The fully serviced park is attracting other industries in the immediate neighbourhood, and all are facilitated and serviced by UIA.
The Bweyogerere industrial estate hosts a number of investment projects including Uganda National Bureau of Standards headquarters and specialized laboratories, a hospital and Biyinzika Enterprises, amongst others.
At Jinja Industrial and Business Park, Kiira Motors Corporation, which was allocated 100 acres of land by UIA, has already started laying the foundation for the main assembling line as well as warehousing. Thousands
According to the chief executive, Eng. Paul Isaac Musaasizi, their priority will be manufacturing and assembling of trucks, buses and pickups because they are not only on demand but are usually purchased brand new.
Musaasizi says they are already engaging local universities and artisans in order to increase the uptake of local content in the industrial processes, adding that come 2021 the first vehicles will be on the market.
At Mbale industrial park, three projects, including a factory for light bulbs and another one for detergents, are already up and running, with nine others lined up. At full capacity, the industrial park will host nearly 50 factories.
The Soroti industrial park has one factory, the Soroti Fruit Factory, which currently produces mango and orange juice. Ever since the fruit factory started operations, interest in the park has increased and UIA has already received many applications for land.
The chief executive of Soroti Fruit Factory, Mr. Douglas Ndawula, says it is not true that they are not operational, revealing that they have enough fruit concentrates to run the factory till the next harvest season.
The UIA directors heard that some of the challenges in the industrial parks include supply of reliable power, supply of industrial water, waste management, land conflicts, provision of access roads and inability by some investors to develop land allocated to them within the stipulated time.
The UIA acting Director General, Mr. Lawrence Byensi, says they are focused on industrial parks development in order to industrialize Uganda, create jobs and contribute to national development.
Mr. Byensi encourages investors, both domestic and foreign, to pick interest in industrial parks outside central Uganda, saying with improved infrastructure like roads and electricity upcountry industrial parks are equally viable.
From the 22 industrial parks that President Yoweri Museveni directed should be built across Uganda, UIA is now targeting 27 industrial parks, which will include five science and innovation parks. Other industrial parks under development are Moroto, Kasese and Mbarara.
Planned industrial parks are Hoima, Nakasongola, Buliisa, Gulu, Lira, Arua, Tororo, Iganga, Masaka, Luweero-Nakaseke, Bushenyi, Kabale, Fort Portal, Rakai, Mbarara Main, Mityana and Mubende.
UIA also supports private industrial parks like Liao Shen in Kapeeka and MMP in Buikwe.