Kampala- A section of investors have challenged Uganda Investment Authority’s (UIA) condition that they establish themselves at the Kampala Industrial Park before utilities such as water, power and roads are fixed by the government.
Speaking at the launch of the Uganda Investment Review Supplement last week in Kampala, UIA executive director Frank Sebbowa, said the government is willing to provide services to companies that are already operating at the Industrial park rather than those that are watching from the sidelines. “Start operations there (at the Industrial Park) and we will reciprocate,” Mr Sebbowa said.
He continued: “Roofing is already there and we are going to provide them with electricity, water, a tarmac road and all other infrastructure that it needs. And this is what we are now going to do—provide facilities for the ones who are already there.”
Although Mr Sebbowa says he realises that is not the right thing to do, he believes it is one way to establish the seriousness of investors who want to use the industrial park for development or not.
Toyota Uganda managing director Dino Bianchi argued that so far, there is no detailed plan for an investor with more than $10million (about Shs25 billion) to invest at Namanve Industrial Park.
He said: “We need a plan. We need good roads because we will be moving premium goods. We also need good connections—internet and all other basic services up and running.”
He continued: “It is not our function (investors) to put these things in place. Why should an investor set up his fibre cable?”
Contradictions on the need to develop the park
Mr Varun Sood, the Works Manager Uganda Baati, who was earlier told by Mr Sebbowa to either establish his business at the park or face eviction, said in a separate interview with the Daily Monitor that it would be good if the park is developed before investors establish themselves there.
“We are going to have a meeting with Mr Sebbowa, but our concern is like for all other investors—let them develop the place—install power, fix roads and connect water,” Mr Varun said.
He said they wouldagree on how to quicken the process of them establishing themselves.
Mr Stuart Mwesigwa, the business development manager at Roofings Ltd, however, said investors should follow the example set by Roofings who started business at the Namanve based Industrial Park without any government facility beside the land. “We may not be laughing but at least we are smiling—so things may not be perfect but I urge you to start and the amenities will follow,” he said