Government fails to honour incentives offered to Covidex maker

Some of the products manufactured by Prof Patrick Ogwang, displayed during the COMESA Women in Business Expo in Kampala recently. Photo | Stephen Otage 

What you need to know:

According to Prof Patrick Ogwang, the lead manufacturer of Covidex, whereas Uganda Investment Authority offered them five acres of land at the Soroti Industrial Park last year, they have failed to secure a lease certificate, connect electricity to the site and roads are yet to be tarmacked 

Jena Herbals, the manufacturer of Covidex, has asked government to deliver the incentives it offered them to invest in a production line in the Soroti Industrial Park. 

In an interview last week, Prof Patrick Ogwang, the manufacturer of the drug which gained prominence at the height of the second wave of Covid-19 last year, said since Uganda Investment Authority offered them five acres of land at the Soroti Industrial Park last year, they have failed to get the lease certificate as well as electricity and tarmacked roads to the factory site.

“Our biggest challenge now is the lease certificate that we have been chasing but we have failed. We need tarmacked roads otherwise dust will get into the factory. We need electricity and Umeme is telling us to pay Shs100m yet this is a government industrial park,” he said, adding that they had to get water to the site on their own because they could not wait to be connected given that they had a target to make the factory ready by December for installation of equipment. 

Last year, government offered the developer of Covidex five acres of land and a 10-years-tax holiday to support him in expanding the factory. 

While handing over the investment license Ms Evelyn Anite, the state minister for Investment, said the fact that Prof Ogwang had obtained an investment license, qualified to acquire government land and they were to look into his investment plan and provide additional support. 

Asked what become of their pledge, Dr Paul Kyalimpa, the Uganda Investment Authority deputy director general, said there wasn’t anything hindering the factory from getting any of the promised incentives as long Prof Ogwang liaises with UIA whenever he gets challenges.

“That is a very small thing, let him write to us. If he wants power, we shall take it next to him, same as water, the same with roads, UNRA is working on them. For the lease certificate, Ministry of Lands is currently digitising land titles to fight corruption and it is transferring its staff from offices which delayed acquisition the certificates,” he said.

In 2021, Covidex gained fame within Uganda after a number of people endorsed it as one of the best Covid-19 reliever that was available on the market.