Kampala. Manufacturing, pharmaceutical and processers of finished goods emerged the biggest winners at the Investor of the Year (INOY) Awards.
Now in its 25th year, the INOY gala is an annual event organised by the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) that recognises investors that have successfully implemented and commissioned licensed operational business projects within a given period.
Beer maker Nile Breweries Limited (NBL) scooped the overall investor of the year accolade followed by Harris International, manufacturers of Riham cola and Rene Industries, a pharmaceutical company as the second runners up.
NBL, a SABMiller affiliate brewery was recognised for their $90m (Shs302.8 billion) investment in Mbarara District that was licensed by UIA in 2009. They invested in a biogas plant and responded to government’s call of diversification and increased investment in the manufacturing sector. This investment has created jobs for more than 20,000 local farmers and remits over Shs17 billion in taxes to the government annually.
The awards also recognised the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises as overall best in the medium scale category for their outstanding contribution to local coffee farmers. Through their $3.5m (Shs11.8 billion) investment, coffee farmers are able to add value to their coffee before exporting it abroad and readying it for the global market.
The Vice President Mr Edward Ssekandi, who was the chief guest, said globalisation is exerting pressure on producers, marketers and sales people to perfect what they do if they are to remain relevant and competitive in the market.
“The investor of the year award comes at a great time when our local producers need to benchmark what they put in the market vis-a-vis other players,” he said.
Mr Ssekandi, who read out the President’s speech to the investors gathered, thanked them for their contribution towards the development of the country, particularly focusing on job creation and volume of investment.
He said the essence of the event underlines the need to avail quality products and services in an increasing competitive local and global market. He asked the investors to unite and fortify Uganda’s production capacity as well as increase market size and bargaining power in order to fit in the global market.
He said the UIA awards underline government’s purposeful intention of supporting and promoting investment as a mechanism of transforming Uganda from backwardness to modernity through rapid industrialisation.
“The investor of the year award should therefore encourage investors to become more competitive and efficient in what they do,” he said.
What Uganda needs is the rapid industrialisation of agriculture which will come through concerted development to fast-track its transformation to middle income status.
Ms Evelyn Anite, the minister of state for Planning and Investment, said the government was going to rely more on investors to take Uganda into the middle income status. She also revealed that they are going to establish five industrial parks every year to realise this ambitious plan.
Nile Breweries Ltd – Gold overall investor of the year award
Harris International – Bronze 1st Runner up
Rene Industries – Silver 2nd Runners up
Small and Medium scale category
NUCAFE – Gold -Overall winners
Quantum Foods – Silver Runners
Overall Best Foreign Mission – India High commission
Best Foreign Mission – Nairobi
Best Women Entrepreneur – Ms Florence Okot.