Government appropriates sh2.69b annually for the development of all Industrial Parks in the country
By Dennis Katungi
This year's national budget will be presented on June 8, 2017, and it is also one year after the 2016 general elections in which the Government promised to take Ugandans to a prosperous lower middle-income status by 2020.
The theme for this budget will be "Industrialisation and shared prosperity." With a renewed mandate, the Government committed itself to foster prosperity through job and wealth creation for all.
In the Kisanja Hakuna Mchezo era, President Yoweri Museveni directed all ministries, departments and agencies of Government to integrate their sector policy plans with the National Planning Framework, the manifesto commitments as well as the strategic guidelines and directives. In this one year prognosis, we highlight activities in the Kampala Industrial and Business Parks.
Uganda Investment Authority has already embarked on the process of establishing 23 Industrial and Business Parks as well as four regional Science and Technology Industrial Parks across the country. It is hoped that this will ease access to land for investments, introduce new technologies and research, there-by developing skills and creating jobs. In turn, this will boost Uganda's exports and increase the local revenue base.
Recently, Uganda Investment Authority arranged a Tour of Kampala Industrial and Business Parks (KIBP). A team of Government Communication Officers visited the key Industrial-sites and some of the operational projects we visited include: Quality Chemical Industries (Luzira), Kyagalanyi Coffee Factory, and a few others. Quality Chemical Industries is a world class pharmaceutical manufacturing facility that has been operating at optimal capacity for some time now.
About 20 projects are currently in operation within the KIBP directly employing 11,000 Ugandans within the Park. About 65 more projects have commenced physical construction creating an additional 17,000 indirect short term contract/technical jobs. Also, 139 projects are still processing their paperwork including environmental impact assessments (EIAs), architectural designs, land titling, geotechnical and hydrological studies.
These create employment to the various white collar professionals such as Architects, Civil Engineers; Quantity Surveyors etc. On the tour, we learnt that 71 projects have been newly allocated plots and are in surveying and lease preparation stage. This was activity as at end of March 2017.
Major businesses seen in the Industrial Park include; Roofings Rolling Mills Ltd, Kyagalanyi Coffee, COMESA Industries, Orion transformers, Interior Technologies, Valley View Estates, Saba Gifco, Opit Investments Ltd, Victoria Seeds, Century Bottling Ltd (Coca Cola), Sunbelt industries, Three Ways Shipping, Kingstone Enterprises, Diamond Trust Bank, Roke Telecom, Hanson Eastern Investments, Steel & Tube Industries - phase 1, Saran Agro, Happy Family Welders, Leaf Tobacco, Alfasan - Farm Support Ltd to mention a few.
Some of the investors at advanced infrastructure development stages observed were Toyota, Mukwano Industries, Kazi Group, Mada Hotels, Office of the Prime Minister, DFCU Bank, Kampala Modernity Ltd, Tiang-Tiang Industries, Luuka Plastics, while others have commenced development such as Vinci Coffee, Spedag Interfreight, SDV TRANSAMI, Ntake Bakery, among others.
At full capacity, this industrial park will become the biggest hub in Uganda with 295 industries directly employing Approx.200,000 Ugandans. Uganda Investment Authority estimates total investment capacity at $3.5 trillion and the industries in KIBP alone will be contributing over $540m in taxes per annum at expected full capacity in 2021.
The team observed low infrastructure development in the park which in itself is a disincentive to serious investors. There is no road net-work save for gravel trucks in the Industrial Park. In the rainy season, the murram roads become impassable and the drainage challenges become visible. The roads need to be upgraded to bituminous standards.
There is a need to provide high voltage power lines (132KV and 33kv), power substation, supply bulk industrial water, Fiber optic cable backbone, solid waste management plant and a sewerage treatment plant in order for this Industrial hub to function optimally.
The extension of the Railway line and the development of an Inland Container Depot are priority tasks yet to be undertaken by the relevant ministries, departments and agencies. There is also a need to plan the rehabilitation of the currently over-congested Jinja Kampala road as well as the construction of a fly-over above the Highway.
Out of the 44km planned road net-work in the park, only 4km are tarmacked and 2.5km are under construction. 30km have been opened up to gravel for access to investor's plots. The Industrial Park has a fully fledged office block constructed in 2009 using funds from the World Bank.
Over and above, there is an acute need to explore alternative financing strategies in order to realise the development of the Industrial Parks.
The Kampala Industrial Park Infrastructure development costs alone are sh500b, but currently, the Government appropriates sh2.69b annually for the development of all Industrial Parks in the country. Uganda Investment Authority has been engaging other Government agencies such as UETCL, NWSC, NITA-U and UNRA to consider including budget lines for mainstream industrial parks services within their operation work plans of 2017/2018.
While a lot has been done, a huge task remains, more so, if we are looking at the vision 2020 time frame to achieve the goals.
Writer is the communications and media relations manager of the Uganda Media Centre