By Francis Kagolo
The Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) is looking for $180m (about sh470.5b) to expedite the Namanve Industrial and Business Park project, which has stalled for over a decade.
The money is required to complete roads, power, water, optic fire cables and solid waste management facilities in what has so far been designed as Uganda’s biggest industrial park.
UIA executive director Eng. Frank Sebbowa yesterday underlined the importance of setting up industrial and business parks, saying it is hard for an economy to take off without such facilities.
In 2011, the World Bank and the finance ministry failed to provide funds to complete it. This was after the finance ministry asked the Auditor General to conduct a valuefor- money audit to ascertain why a revised contract raised the cost of the project by over 300%. The two bodies suspected that the revised costs were inflated.
The project, located on 896 hectares of land, was earlier estimated at sh350b ($125m) and funded under a credit agreement between the Government and the World Bank. “We are re-evaluating the designs that were given to us before so as to re-embark on the process of developing the park. We are likely to do it in phases,” Sebbowa said on Tuesday. “Unless we get industrial parks, we will not move the economy. We hope the Government will allocate the project funds in the next financial year. If not, the ministry in charge would look for avenues of borrowing.” Sebbowa made the remarks yesterday at the New Vision offices while signing a lease agreement with Vision Group boss Robert Kabushenga.
Vision Group has become the last big investor to acquire land in the industrial park where it plans to construct office premises and a factory for commercial printing on five acres. The 30-year lease is to cost the company $400,000 (about sh1b), with each acre going for $80,000.
Reiterating that 77 out of the 170 leases so far issued in the park will be cancelled because the investors were unserious,
Sebbowa said the Vision Group’s land acquisition is a big boost to the park. “It’s good for us to get a good investor like Vision Group. You will become our advert for the park,” he stated. Kabushenga said Vision Group board of directors had approved the new project, expecting that it would sustain the company’s massive expansion for the next 20 years. “We have grown so much in the recent years. Space is no longer enough for us,” he explained. “We are looking at moving our office operations to Namanve and to expand our capacity in commercial printing.”
Kabushenga noted that moving to Namanve was commercially viable given the park’s strategic location on a highway and access to a possible railway line. “We do not mind about how the park looks currently. We need to work with UIA as they develop facilities in the park.” Vision Group chief operations officer Gervase Ndyanabo and UIA’s business development specialist Abdul Kasule witnessed the signing of the lease agreement.