Parliament to probe procurement of new city buses

Thursday February 20 2020

Public transport. A Tondeka Bus in Kampala.

Public transport. A Tondeka Bus in Kampala. COURTESY PHOTO  

By Moses Kyeyune

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has instructed the House committee on Trade and Industry to investigate the procurement of new city buses.
The probe which is to take one week is to dig information on the suppliers of the buses, under a project known as Tondeka metro.
Ms Kadaga, moved by Fort Portal Municipality MP Alex Ruhunda, believes that the project should be handed to a local assembling plant to supply the buses, and not Indian players as is reported.
“I think as Ugandans, we should really try to promote our country; if we are going to create employment in other countries and we have unemployment here, it is not right,” Ms Kadaga said.

The Committee is expected to report its findings on Thursday next week.
The Speaker reiterated, “it is important that we support the Ugandan industries to grow, if we import from India, we are supporting the Indian economy, the Indian employment, Indian industries at the cost of Uganda.”
Mr Ruhunda raised the matter as an urgent issue of national importance.
The lawmaker argued that with the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy in place, there is no reason as to why the City Authority would hire services from as far as India, yet the president recently commissioned a local assembling plant.

Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has signed an undertaking to improve public transport in Kampala, with at least 980 buses as first consignment for the Tondeka Metro services.

Mr Ruhunda however argues that the project can be locally executed and boost not only the local market but also offer employment opportunities to citizens.
“It is my concern that if we continue suffocating these local efforts that are giving Ugandans employment, and we just go and make Indians rich in India and we don’t see the value chain of such industries, then it is wrong for our country,” Mr Ruhunda said.
In March 2019, President Museveni commissioned a bus assembling plant called Metu-ZhongTong based at Namanve in Wakiso District.
The assembly has capacity to produce up to 50 buses per day, and has since attracted business from private operators; both schools and investors in the public transport sector.

He said that Parliament should compel all parastatals and government agencies to support the local industries.
The MP asked the Speaker to investigate the matter and ensure Ugandan products are promoted.
The directive will inform the next step to be taken by Parliament on the process whose procurement is underway and first consignment expected in September this year.