PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni yesterday launched East Africaâ€™s â€œlargest and most modern plant for manufacturing packaging materials.â€
The President said he was amazed to see Ugandans going to developed countries such as the US and China, India without asking how those countries reached where they are.
â€œWhy do they envy those countries. They are not better off than Uganda in terms of resources. What is lacking are industries that will create employment,â€ Museveni said at the launch attended by investors.
Riley Packaging, which is worth $13m (sh22.6b), is located in Lwanyonyi near Mukono town on the Kampala-Jinja highway.
The plant that manufactures a wide range of corrugated products, display stands and dustbins, sits on a 16.6 acre piece of land. It is owned by Raps and Mukwano group of companies.
The firm produces 2,500 tonnes monthly (14 million boxes) and expects to attain full capacity by 2008, and to employ 400 people, the managers said yesterday.
Museveni warned that he would not listen to elements opposed to investors because â€œindustrialisation was the only way forward for Uganda and Africa in terms of development,â€ State House said in a statement.
He commended the proprietors of the company, which he said, would save Uganda the cost of importing packaging materials. He said, â€œI was told that Uganda uses seven million boxes per month. There is a surplus of seven million for export.â€
The venture, he said, would also enhance infrastructural development of the area, create employment and conserve the environmental by recycling paper.
At this time when Uganda is boosting its exports, the President said packaging was important for branding. â€œBad packaging will not make you sell,â€ he said.
Managing chief Ashish Thakkar said the company had clients in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and the DR Congo.
The clientele, he said, include exporters of fish, flowers, fruits and vegetables, processed tea and coffee, tobacco and day-old chicks.
M7 opens giant plant