Wednesday, April 18, 2018

GOVERNMENT GIVES KIIRA MOTORS 144 BILLION TO MAKE ELECTRIC VEHICLES


By Moses Sserwanga
The Uganda Cabinet has approved the commercialisation of the Kiira Electric Vehicle Project where government will invest Ugs.144billion in a phased approach , Minister of Science Technology and Innovation Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye has said.

While addressing the media in Kampala , Dr. Tumwesigye said that Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) will assemble vehicles including electric ones in partnership with reputable vehicle manufacturers . “This  should progressively position the Kiira Vehicle plant for growth prospects in cutting-edge vehicle technology innovation ,” he stated.
Tumwesigye added:  “ this  landmark Cabinet decision builds upon the work started at Makerere University with support from the Presidential Initiative for Science and Technology Innovation to champion value addition in the domestic automotive industry for job creation and diversification of the economy.”
The decision was informed by a comprehensive appraisal and approval of the feasibility study for setting up and operating the Kiira Vehicle Plant by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
During the four year start up phase, (2018/19-2021/22), the government will give Kiira shs. 143.7bn. The Kiira Vehicle Plant facility shall be set up at the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) Jinja industrial and Business park.  The funding will also help Kiira Motors Corporation to enter into partnership agreements that will lead to the assemble of vehicles this year.

Cabinet also mandated the Ministry of Science a, Technology and innovation   to provide policy guidelines and oversight for the implementation of the project .  “This is an opportunity for us to realize our vision of making vehicles in Uganda. We are grateful to the president, cabinet, and government for trusting us. We want to encourage the private sector to start looking at investment opportunities in the automotive value chain,” says Paul Isaac Musasizi, the Kiira Motors CEO.

 How Ugandans Will Benefit
As Uganda moves  to put locally made cars on the market for the first time by end of this year ,,many Ugandans are wondering how they  could benefit from a budding automotive industry when it finally takes off.
Automotive experts have intimated that  cars just like any other locally manufactured products will have many components or parts that should ideally be sourced locally  and therefore  offer huge economic benefits to the local parts fabrication suppliers . At least on average , a car has over 30,000 parts by the time  it leaves the  production line and this will not be any different when Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC)’s  much anticipated Vehicle Production Plant is set up in Jinja . 
While major  car makers  the world over ,  source car  parts from a broad range of global automotive suppliers overseas , in Uganda with the availability of abundant natural raw materials for   car production  , enterprising  Ugandans  should be prepared  to cash  in on the economic opportunities that will be created across the country’s nascent automotive industry .
This is because the country is endowed with a variety of rich minerals that are key to the successful implementation of the car manufacturing sector .Among the minerals that are abundant across  the country include ,copper and cobalt deposits in the border district of Kasese, gold in the areas of Mbarara, Kabale,  Kisoro, Rukungiri,Kanungu ,Busia , MubendeHoima and parts of West Nile ,Iron ore in Mityana and lead in Kamwenge .
Other raw materials needed for car manufacturing like lithium  can be found in Kabale, Mukono, Mbale and Mubende; tin,  zinc, kaolin , glass and sand are all locally available. The challenge will be how the government will facilitate the business minded Ugandans to benefit from these natural resources across the automotive value chain .
There is  no doubt that promotion of local automotive value chain enterprises  will be a very important government  intervention that will lead to the  creation of  jobs and spread wealth among a wide section of the population which presently is unemployed . Car body builders, vehicle canopies for pick-ups, fiber glass components manufacturers , leather seats makers ,after sells car service providers like  garages , fuel stations should all prepare to seize and benefit from the economic opportunities that will come with the development of the automotive sector .
Dr. Tumwesigye said that the assembly plant will initially employ 900 people but in the long run 2,000 direct jobs and 12,000 indirect jobs will be created.
Vehicles Made in Uganda
KMC championing green mobility in Uganda and Africa
For the last 10 years , Kiira Motors Corporation  has also been at the forefront of  championing  green mobility technologies in Uganda and on the African continent producing the  first electric solar bus, the Kayoola Solar Bus in 2016 that won the company international accolades . KMC engineers led by Prof . Sandy Steven Tockodri the KMC Executive Chairman and Mr. Paul Isaac Musasizi , the Chief Executive Office (CEO) , have also produced the Kiira Electric Vehicle (EV) SMACK hybrid in 2014 and the Kiira EV in 2011.

ENDS

Thursday, April 12, 2018

UGANDA REVENUE AUTHORITY’S MOVE TO OBTAIN PEOPLE’S BANK ACCOUNTS DATA IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL


UGANDA REVENUE AUTHORITY’S  MOVE TO OBTAIN
PEOPLE’S BANK ACCOUNTS DATA IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

BY MOSES SSERWANGA

The Uganda Bankers Association has come out strongly and rightly so to reject machinations by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to obtain private information of the banks’ customers data for taxation purposes.

At least 30 commercial banks have since petitioned the Constitution Court to declare section 42 of the Tax Procedures Act 2014 under  which URA issued the notice to obtain banks’ clients data , unconstitutional. For starters , the Uganda Constitution in article 27 provides for the unfettered right to privacy of personal information including but not limited to the unauthorized disclosure of personal identity information and photographs .

Although parliament is yet to enact an enabling law about personal data protection including the right to privacy of an individual’s photographs , it is an internationally accepted legal principle that banks owe  a fiduciary duty to their clients irrespective of their standing in society . This is the same duty that applies to a doctor and lawyer to clients relationship. The fiduciary relationship is premised on the internationally established understanding  that whatever information comes in the possession of the said professionals in course of their professional duty about their clients is treated as being confidential and cannot be passed on to third parties without the express permission of the affected individual or by court order in criminal and civil cases.

This same principle is encapsulated in the Bank of Uganda Consumer Protection  Guidelines 2011 which among others compel commercial banks to treat their customers fairly and reasonably by not being aggressive , humiliating and or  intimidating .

Therefore , URA’s attempts to compel banks to disclose their clients banking information was in total contravention of the constitution,   banking law and principle as we have come to know them. It should also be noted that Uganda is a signatory to the East African legal framework on the protection of personal information and the cyber laws which was put in place in 2010.

Banks are not at liberty to disclose without court order and if they go ahead to release personal data of their clients they do so in breach of trust and confidentiality and can be sued for specific and general damages .

This same procedure applies to the notorious practice of banks running full page notices where they publish photographs of  people who have defaulted on loans in national newspapers.  This practice is not only humiliating to the  affected  individuals whose photographs are put in the public domination and therefore exposed to third parties but it is also fundamentally flawed and illegal.

The loan contract is between the bank and the individual or entity to which the loan is extended .  That contract is never intended for the knowledge of third parties even when there is a breach by either party .  The banking law and civil procedures accord banks many legal channels through which they can recover a loan from a defaulting customer without breaching their right to privacy .

The banks can do so by either foreclosing a mortgage or  through court processes where they can obtain court orders for specific cases .  In decided cases courts have stated that there is nothing immoral if an individual failed to repay a loan due to circumstances beyond their control and that the practice of exhibiting a photograph of a person and shamming them in public for the sin of being in an impecunious condition cannot be encouraged in civilized societies.

Banks also have a duty to adequately inform and  educate their clientele about the implications of taking out loans especially salaried loans which are pegged on an individual’s “guarantee” to remain in employment . The practice by banks now is that once such an individual loses their job the loan balances automatically fall due . The question then is , how can such a person who has lost their job automatically pay up for their loan balances ? This is the same problem that brought the USA economy to its knees in the mid 2000s.

The aggressive marketing of loans has dire ramifications for the banks , their clients and  the wellbeing of the national economy . Banks being in a superior position must at all times act judiciously.

The  writer is Media and Communications Consultant /Trainer
And Advocate of  the High Court of Uganda
msserwanga@yahoo.com

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

OLD VEHICLES MAKING KAMPALA ONE OF THE MOST POLLUTED CITIES IN THE WORLD


BY MOSES  SSERWANGA
As if it is not bad enough for the  millions of Ugandans who continue to wake up in the wee hours of the day to beat the endemic traffic jams-to drop kids at school and get to work in time, Uganda’s Capital City  Kampala, has also  been listed among the 30 most polluted cities in the world .

According to the World Health Organization, the air in these 30 cities was found to be the most polluted in 2016 and  contains high levels of dangerous particulate matter, small enough to enter the human bloodstream through the lungs—a problem that contributes to an estimated 7 million premature deaths each year.

And yes, Kampala the only African city on the list , is named along side other cities like Jodhpur ,Agra, MandiGobindgrah in  India, Tangshan in China, Bushehr in Iran, Narayangong in Banladesh ,Rawalpindi in Pakistan among others. Although there are many factors contributing to the dangerous high levels of pollution in these cities , ranging from steel mills,burning of scrap tires to extract iron, nuclear power plants , brick manufacturing , for Kampala, pollution researchers have cited vehicle emissions as the leading cause of air pollution .

But  this should not come as a surprise because in 2014 Uganda imported over 45,000 vehicles with an average age of 16 years or what automotive industry experts call “end of life vehicles”. So one can imagine the carbon emission levels caused by these second hand vehicles which in Kampala speak we call ”new”.

According to World Health organization, (WHO), premature deaths from outdoor air pollution could double by 2050, with the largest increases expected to occur in the emerging economies of Africa,  Southeast Asia and the western Pacific. It should be noted that air pollution affects the human lungs  andcontributes to causes of mortality such as strokes, heart disease and lung cancer. 
That’s why this latest  ranking of Kampala among the most polluted cities in the world should be taken with great concern . The Policy makers must get back to the drawing board and fix this problem before it gets out of hand.
A review of the existing legislation (Traffic and Road Safety Act 1998, Investment Code Act, the Income Tax Act, the Value Added Tax Act, the Free Zones Act 2014, and National Industrial Policy 2010)  shows that the highlighted laws only focus  on  registration of motor vehicles in Uganda and attempt to deal with issues of  policy related to revenues from taxes ,ownership and road safety..Unfortunately ,this  existing legal frame doesn’t  expressly address transport-based carbon emission standards within the country.
The takeoff of the green mobility market in Uganda requires a clear government policy on the limitation or total ban of  importation of second hand cars that are more than five years old. These progressive government policies will not only help to reduce on the high carbon emissions in Kampala and elsewhere in the country they will also facilitate the fast development of a competitive  automotive industry in Uganda.
And much as Kampala City Council Authority, (KCCA) should be lauded for keeping the city relatively clean and green, they too as major stakeholders ,should  tackle the problem of pollution head on and rather urgently.
The city planners should look elsewhere in the East African region and borrow a leaf on how to handle theKampala  traffic nightmare. Both Kigali(Rwanda) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) have gone big with their respective new public transport projects . Dar es Salaam now has a fleet of  210 buses with special road lanes and are faster than the matatus .  This has encouraged many private car owners to leave their cars at home and use public transport during the peak working hours reducing traffic jams considerably. Kigali also has a good public transport system which has kept the city free of jams and heavy air pollution .
KCCA should adopt a similar model  to deal with the endless traffic jams and high level of pollution . It is not far fetcher for the city authorities to look at other transport alternatives like electric or solar powered buses to conduct  traffic runs around Kampala.
Vehicle electrification is a major step toward curbing the hazardous transport-based emissions while improving fuel efficiency .When Engineers at Kiira Motors Corporation, (KMC) unveiled electric concept vehicles the Kiira EV and the Kayoola Solar Bus the first of the kind on the African continent not many predicated that electric cars are taking center stage in the automotive industry across the globe.
Electric buses for urban public transport, therefore , could help to reduce not only the sickening traffic jams but also curb air pollution in Kampala. KCCA can partner with Kiira Motors Corporation to set up electric buses test drives say along the new Entebbe express highway as they figure out how to solve the Kampala traffic jam quagmire.
The Writer is Media and Communications Consultant/ trainer and Advocate of the High Court of Uganda.
msserwanga@gmail.com

Monday, February 26, 2018

OLD VEHICLES MAKING KAMPALA ONE OF THE MOST POLLUTED CITIES IN THE WORLD


BY MOSES  SSERWANGA
As if it is not bad enough for the  millions of Ugandans who continue to wake up in the wee hours of the day to beat the endemic traffic jams-to drop kids at school and get to work in time, Uganda’s Capital City  Kampala, has also  been listed among the 30 most polluted cities in the world .
According to the World Health Organization, the air in these 30 cities was found to be the most polluted in 2016 and  contains high levels of dangerous particulate matter, small enough to enter the human bloodstream through the lungs—a problem that contributes to an estimated 7 million premature deaths each year.
And yes, Kampala the only African city on the list , is named along side other cities like Jodhpur ,Agra, MandiGobindgrah in  India, Tangshan in China, Bushehr in Iran, Narayangong in Banladesh ,Rawalpindi in Pakistan among others. Although there are many factors contributing to the dangerous high levels of pollution in these cities , ranging from steel mills,burning of scrap tires to extract iron, nuclear power plants , brick manufacturing , for Kampala, pollution researchers have cited vehicle emissions as the leading cause of air pollution .
But  this should not come as a surprise because in 2014 Uganda imported over 45,000 vehicles with an average age of 16 years or what automotive industry experts call “end of life vehicles”. So one can imagine the carbon emission levels caused by these second hand vehicles which in Kampala speak we call ”new”.
According to World Health organization, (WHO), premature deaths from outdoor air pollution could double by 2050, with the largest increases expected to occur in the emerging economies of Africa,  Southeast Asia and the western Pacific. It should be noted that air pollution affects the human lungs  andcontributes to causes of mortality such as strokes, heart disease and lung cancer. 
That’s why this latest  ranking of Kampala among the most polluted cities in the world should be taken with great concern . The Policy makers must get back to the drawing board and fix this problem before it gets out of hand.
A review of the existing legislation (Traffic and Road Safety Act 1998, Investment Code Act, the Income Tax Act, the Value Added Tax Act, the Free Zones Act 2014, and National Industrial Policy 2010)  shows that the highlighted laws only focus  on  registration of motor vehicles in Uganda and attempt to deal with issues of  policy related to revenues from taxes ,ownership and road safety..Unfortunately ,this  existing legal frame doesn’t  expressly address transport-based carbon emission standards within the country.
The takeoff of the green mobility market in Uganda requires a clear government policy on the limitation or total ban of  importation of second hand cars that are more than five years old. These progressive government policies will not only help to reduce on the high carbon emissions in Kampala and elsewhere in the country they will also facilitate the fast development of a competitive  automotive industry in Uganda.
And much as Kampala City Council Authority, (KCCA) should be lauded for keeping the city relatively clean and green, they too as major stakeholders ,should  tackle the problem of pollution head on and rather urgently.
The city planners should look elsewhere in the East African region and borrow a leaf on how to handle theKampala  traffic nightmare. Both Kigali(Rwanda) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) have gone big with their respective new public transport projects . Dar es Salaam now has a fleet of  210 buses with special road lanes and are faster than the matatus .  This has encouraged many private car owners to leave their cars at home and use public transport during the peak working hours reducing traffic jams considerably. Kigali also has a good public transport system which has kept the city free of jams and heavy air pollution .
KCCA should adopt a similar model  to deal with the endless traffic jams and high level of pollution . It is not far fetcher for the city authorities to look at other transport alternatives like electric or solar powered buses to conduct  traffic runs around Kampala.
Vehicle electrification is a major step toward curbing the hazardous transport-based emissions while improving fuel efficiency .When Engineers at Kiira Motors Corporation, (KMC) unveiled electric concept vehicles the Kiira EV and the Kayoola Solar Bus the first of the kind on the African continent not many predicated that electric cars are taking center stage in the automotive industry across the globe.
Renowned carmaker Volvo has since announced that all its new models will have an electric motor from 2019. The Chinese-owned firm, best known for its emphasis on driver safety, has become the first traditional carmaker to signal the end of the internal combustion engine as we have come to know it.It plans to launch five fully electric models between 2019 and 2021 and a range of hybrid models. It is also not a secret that Kiira Motors Corporation have a hybrid model, the Kiira Smack on their concept innovations display.International Automotive Industry commentators state that Volvo's announcement is a direct reflection of where the auto industry is headed. 
Electric buses for urban public transport, therefore , could help to reduce not only the sickening traffic jams but also curb air pollution in Kampala. KCCA can partner with Kiira Motors Corporation to set up electric buses test drives say along the new Entebbe express highway as they figure out how to solve the Kampala traffic jam quagmire.
The Writer is Media and Communications Consultant/ trainer and Advocate of the High Court of Uganda. This article can also be found at msserwanga.blogspot.com
msserwanga@gmail.com

Thursday, January 25, 2018

WHAT NRM LIBERATION CELEBRATIONS SHOULD MEAN FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT


By Moses Sserwanga

 As Ugandans mark the 32 Liberation Day Anniversary under the theme: Uganda’s liberation struggle; a significant contribution to our present and future development, it is imperative to remind ourselves about the essentials that are central to the transformation process from a peasant to a modern and prosperous society.

 
Uganda’s Vision 2040 was put in place to harness the abundant opportunities around the country. The opportunities include; oil and gas, tourism, minerals, ICT business, abundant labour force, geographical location and trade, water resources, industrialisation, and agriculture among others.

 
But the planners envisaged that one could not possibly realise the opportunities abound with our natural resources and hence underscored the importance of accelerating investments in the development of  infrastructure for (energy, transport, water, oil and gas and ICT); Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation (STEI) not forgetting human resource development, peace , security and defence.

 
The full realisation of the intentions of  the well crafted  NRM government Vision 2040 statement , will therefore,  depend on the  commitment and dedication of all Ugandans towards hard work, premised on having  the  right attitudes and mind-sets to  improve our competitiveness and collective participation in national development .

 
This is because Uganda, as we all know, is endowed with significant amount of minerals which can be deployed for value addition across many development sectors including but not limited to the automotive industry.
 
Uganda’s airborne geophysical survey, geological mapping and geochemical sampling estimates that there are over 27 types of minerals in significant commercial viable reserves dotted across the country.  Iron ore deposits in Kabale and Kisoro areas alone are estimated to be over 50 million tonnes.  And yet these are not the only natural resources available , There  are other minerals which  include; Beryl, Bismuth, Columbite Tantalite, Copper, Chromite, Diamond, Gold, Tin (cassiterite), Wolfram(Tungsten), Asbes-tos, Clay, Diatomite, Feldspar, Granite Gneisis, Graphite, Gypsum, Kaolin, Kyanite, Limestone, Marble, Mica, Phos-phates, Rock Salt, Silca Sand, Talc, Cobalt, Lead, Zinc, Platinum Group Metals (PGM), Uranium, Vermiculite and Nickle to mention but a few .

 
When fully exploited these minerals can provide a source of raw materials for many industries triggering an industrial revolution with pleasant ramifications. The automotive industry is one of those sectors with a huge potential as demonstrated by other East African countries the Mobius in Kenya and now Volkswagen in Rwanda. Don’t forget that Uganda was hitherto ahead of these two countries in the development of the automotive industry through the country’s vehicle production flagship-the Kiira Motors Corporation, (KMC).

 
As  Rwanda  partners with German car maker Volkswagen to produce vehicles in Kigali,  Uganda too, has the opportunity to build a strong  automotive industry  with forward and backward linkages with other industries like mining  which will have far reaching economic and development  implications in revenue  generation and employment for the fastest  growing population in the world.

 
The huge global demand for vehicles is testament that once Uganda’s automotive industry takes off it could easily become one of the country‘s major foreign exchange earner. Some 79.6 million vehicles were sold last year alone and the demand is only expected to increase this year. This should be the bench-mark to fast- track the potential that Uganda’s industratisation trajectory presents.

 
A review of the development paths of many developed and emerging economies show that except for a few oil-exporting countries there is a direct relation between industrialisation and rapid development. A strong and competitive industrial base is therefore, important to create employment, advance technology and build a strong resilient economy.

 
But industrialisation cannot be realised out of the vacuum. There must be a conducive legal environment for the industrial sector development to take effect. It is a pity that not much has been done to develop the gazetted industrial parks which are supposed to be the  bedrock for industrialisation.
 

Government must put in place and support outward oriented policies to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and provide the entire necessary infrastructure in the gazetted national industrial parks for championing industrialisation. Otherwise,  celebrating national liberation without tangible economic benefit to the majority of the people shall be rendered redundant. Happy Liberation Day!


The writer is a media and communications Consultant/trainer and Advocate of the High Court of Uganda.   This article can also be found at msserwanga.blogspot.com

msserwanga@gmail.com

 

Friday, January 5, 2018

GOVERNMENT SHOULD IMPLEMENT THE MAKERERE UNIVERSITY VISITATION COMMITTE RECOMMENDATIONS WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY



BY MOSES SSERWANGA

The  Visitation Committee on  Makerere University  in its report which was  officially handed over to President Yoweri Museveni last week , has made far reaching  recommendations to reform Uganda’s Higher Education Sub Sector to make it more  relevant to the country’s development goals through innovation and industrialisation.
The recommendations address thematic areas which include, teaching and learning, research and innovation, knowledge transfer partnerships and networks and the National Higher Education Strategic Plan which expired in 2015, among others.
The Committee which was set up in 2016 to examine the challenges that face Uganda’s Public Universities stressed the need to restructure training programs to place emphasis on skills development, research and innovation that is critical for the aspired national socio- economic transformation of the country.
This in essence means that Uganda must as a matter of urgency establish a resilient and vibrant higher education system that can contribute to the competitiveness of the country’s economy in tandem with the Vision 2040 and the National Development Plan II.
Although Makerere University is still ranked the 3rd in Africa by Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 2016/17, a relatively good standing among its peers in the East African region and African continent , the Visitation Committee established in its investigations that the institution just like many others in the country, is still using backward teaching and learning methods which are  devoid of serious research undertakings and innovative ideas to reflect the institution’s mission of “Bringing the Future to the Present”.

The Committee also found that Makerere University lacks a comprehensive policy to guide the development of indigenous knowledge and knowledge transfer partnerships. This situation is not helped either by the lack of a nationally-funded research agenda and the allocation of less than one percent of the University’s internally generated income to research, innovations and skilled based knowledge/learning.

 These findings are of great national concern because the challenges as highlighted by the Committee are not only limited to Makerere University but cut across the entire Higher Education Sub Sector.

 
If Uganda is going to find space in a highly competitive global education system, there is urgent need to put in place a Higher Education Strategic Plan that will emphasise alternative thinking or “lateral” thinking and creative application of acquired skills through research and innovation as was espoused by Edward Charles Francis Publius de Bono, a Maltese philosopher, physician, psychologist, author and inventor.

 Makerere together with other stakeholders must this time round take some bold steps to implement the Committee’s recommendations by carrying out radical reforms which will promote research, innovation and skills based learning. Graduates who are skilled will be easily absorbed in the productive sectors such as the automotive industry. There is already evidence to prove that once well thought out reforms as advocated by the Visitation Committee are expeditiously implemented, Uganda’s Higher Education Sector can be transformed rapidly.
 
This is because many of these revolutionary concepts are not alien to our education systems they have either been captured in previous reports or have been implemented but rather selectively by a few spirited individuals.

 Take for instance the Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) a national automotive manufacturing company that designed and produced the first solar bus in Africa –the Kayoola solar bus has built on many of its widely acclaimed milestones to develop the Kiira Motors brand identity and is now slated to produce vehicles made in Uganda for the first time this year. But this is not to forget that KMC was initially a Makerere University Presidential Initiative Project which in the late 2000s demonstrated that students, when given the right knowledge, skills, guidance and attitude can be quite innovative. At the time, under the stewardship of Prof. Sandy Stevens Tickodri-Togboa and Mr. Paul Isaac Musasizi, a handful of students at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology, designed and built the first electric vehicle in Africa, the Kiira EV.

 Similarly, by employing alternative thinking, Makerere University is running a program called Resilient Africa Networks (RAN) the largest University –Institutionalised Platform that involves 18 Universities spread across 13 African countries. The Platform is used as a conduit for engagements with cities and communities in Africa to generate knowledge and skills to inform resilience driven innovations that create African solutions to Africa’s problems. The RAN lab alone manages a multidisciplinary portfolio of over 150 innovations.

These and many other examples show that we can get out of this retarded Higher Education quagmire. The Visitation Committee has recommended that Makerere and other public universities should in the short and medium term, ensure that professional bodies, industry and employers are actively involved in the development and restructuring of courses so that the restructured programs are relevant to the national development needs and agenda. The Committee also calls for a review of the internship programme to capture students’ learning experiences.

In addition, it urges government to sustainably operationalise the Research and Innovation Fund and scale it up from the Shs. 500bn to boost research and innovation at the national level. The revolving fund should be competed for nationally by education and research institutions in both the public and private domains to encourage multi-disciplinary teams of researchers, academics, students and practitioners including inventors and industrialists.

 This is the only way Higher Education Institutions can fulfil their mandate and be at the helm of national economic development and transformation through their contribution to professional training.  The Uganda Vision 2040 places great importance on developing a skilled and creative workforce to harness the abundant economic opportunities available in Uganda especially in regard to natural resources and industrialisation.

And yes, it can be done if government and all stakeholders can implement the recommendations as contained in the Makerere Visitation Committee Report without further delay.

The writer is a Media and Communications Consultant and Advocate of the High Court of Uganda. This article can also be found at msserwanga.blogspot.com 

msserwanga@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

SIX NEW INDUSTRIAL PARKS TO ACCELERATE UGANDA’S INDUSTRIALISATION AND CREATE ONE MILLION JOBS BY 2021

BY MOSES SSERWANGA
In concerted effort to push Uganda to a middle income economy by 2020, the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) has rolled out an ambitious strategic plan to build and complete six new Industrial and Business parks.
The six (6) new Industrial and Business Parks will be located in Jinja, Nakasongola, Arua, Buliisa, Gulu and Lira districts. Government has also committed to secure an additional Ug. Shs 500bn to complete the Kampala Industrial and Business Park (KIBP), Namanve. According to the UIA five-year strategic plan which will run until 2021, the Industrial Parks are meant to promote Uganda as a destination for profitable investment, business and innovation to create an estimated 1,000,000 (one million) jobs by 2021.
The UIA strategy and the mission to develop these parks follows President Yoweri Museveni’s directive to fast track development of the 22 gazetted Industrial Parks countrywide, as a means to accelerated industrialization, create jobs, wealth and ensure inclusive development for the entire country in line with the NRM Manifesto 2016-2021.
Already, Kiira Motors Corporation is in the process of extending electricity and water to the Jinja Industrial and Business Park where their Vehicle Plant is to be situated.  The contribution to employment of the Vehicle Plant’s establishment is estimated at over 850 jobs from the Start-Up Investment. At full-scale Plant Operation, over 2,000 jobs are estimated to be created directly and over 12,000 jobs created indirectly.
The Authority also plans to develop four (4) regional Science, Technology and Industrial Parks (STIPs) during the 5-year period. Each regional STIP will house a “German-model Multi-Skills Development Center” to offer broad-based, multi-disciplinary and hands-on training in skills and trades in various industrial and technical fields--along the German model of vocational education and training.  The objectives are to produce "industry ready" skilled graduates.

UIA has also proposed another four (4) regional Israel-model Agribusiness Technical and Vocational Skills Institutes. Central Uganda’s Agribusiness Skills Institute will be located in Nakaseke District-Luwero Triangle. It will focus on crop agriculture and animal resources value chains. Eastern Uganda’s Agribusiness Skills Institute will be located on the border of Katakwi District (Teso sub-region) and Napak District (Karamoja sub-region). It will focus on dryland agriculture with irrigation and animal resources value chain.
Northern Uganda’s Agribusiness Skills Institute will be located in Rhino Camp, Arua District on the banks of the River Nile. It will focus on Aqua-culture (commercial fish farming), Apiary (commercial bee keeping and honey production), and citrus/fruits value chains. While Western Uganda’s Israel-model Agribusiness Skills Institute will be located in Kabarole District and focus on livestock and diary value chain.
UIA seeks to tap the Ug Shs 500bn Innovation Fund set by President Museveni for the four (4) regional Science, Technology and Industrial Parks; German-model Multi-Skills Development Centers, and the Israel-model Agribusiness Technical & Vocational Skills Institutes. And the Authority has projected Ug. Shs 20 bn over 5 years for the German and Israel models Technical and Vocational Skills Centers.  
The German-model Multi-Skills Development Centers will anchor and provide “Industry-ready” skilled graduates, especially for the regional Science, Technology and Industrial Parks. Meanwhile the Israel-model Agribusiness Vocational Institutes will feed into the Industrial Parks in their regional catchment areas. They will admit young people with qualifications right from ‘O’, ‘A’ levels, BTVET, diplomas and those with degrees.
The idea is to have as many youths with a diversity of qualifications as possible to benefit from these proposed world-class Skills Development Facilities, UIA sources said.
Training and mentoring in both the German and Israel model Skills Centers/Institutes are expected to take between 1-2 years maximum. UIA expects both the German and Israel BTVET models to be operational by the third year 2019/2020 and each model is expected to admit at least 500 students at the opening, and develop over 2,000 “Industry-ready” skilled graduates by 2021.
This new blue-print is geared at making Uganda a profitable hub and destination for investment. It is in turn predicated on Uganda as the land of entrepreneurial and innovative people.
UIA will also harness the international goodwill towards Uganda through global strategic partnerships with China, South Korea, Israel and Singapore to ensure that the objectives of its new strategic plan for Industrial Parks development to accelerate industrialization is achieved.
The writer is a Media and Communications Consultant/Trainer and Advocate of the High Court of Uganda

This article can also be found at: msserwanga.blogspot.com