By Umaru Kashaka
Officials from Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) have asked government to involve them in the allocation of land in Namanve Industrial Park to avoid being hoodwinked by fake investors who cannot develop it.
They made the call on Thursday while appearing before the parliamentary committee on trade and industry over the new taxes in 2014/15 budget pending Parliamentary approval.
“Land is being allocated to people who are not real investors, but are carrying empty briefcases to deceive government. We should give land to potential investors who are able to develop it,” the director corporate affairs of Southern Range Nyanza Ltd, Richard Mubiru, argued on behalf of the association.
The committee took exception to reports that more than 120 investors had surveyed their plots at the park that is about 14km East of Kampala city while 127 had not surveyed.
“I’m shocked that land in Namanve is being allocated to those who can’t develop it,” the Lyantonde Woman MP and committee vice-chairperson, Grace Namara, said.
Investment state minister Gabriel Ajedra early this year said a new criterion drawn by the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) had already been approved by Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority to start giving free land to investors.
He said investors in four government priority sectors; minerals, hospitality and tourism, agro-processing and ICT, will get the land.
“The land is subsidised for investors in line with the government policy on prioritised investment sectors,” Ajedra said.
The minister added that land will be given out without following public procurement procedures in the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) Act.
“The President on many occasions has asked why investors are subjected to PPDA because they come into the country when they express interest to set up businesses,” said Mr Ajedra.
However, the rest of the investors will pay premium of $80,000 per acre but will also be exempted from PPDA procedures.
UIA has in the past reclaimed land in Namanve Industrial Park from investors who failed to develop the plots.
Conditions of acquiring land includes performance security where the investors allocated free land will provide a performance security in form of a bank or insurance bond equivalent to 10 per cent of the value of the leased land valid for 18 months within which the condition should have been fulfilled.
They are also required within 18 months from the date of allocation to have started developing the land, failure to do that, the lease shall automatically elapse.
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