After 20 years of being gazetted as a signature land for investment, the story of the unending tale of Kampala Industrial and Business Park (KIBP) located in Namanve, is set to change, this time hopefully with a happy ending.
Speaking to journalists at the preliminary stakeholder engagement workshop in Kampala earlier today (Thursday), the Acting Director General of the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Mr Joseph Kiggundu, said the country has since secured about 215 million Euro loan (about Shs978billion) meant for the construction of KIBP entire infrastructure.
According to Mr Kiggundu, the loan was sourced from the new UK Export Finance, a UK government financing arm operating under the Department for International Trade.
With funding issues now sorted, Mr Kiggundu is hopeful that over the next 42 months (about 3.5 years), the Namanve Industrial Park as is popularly known, occupying 2,213 acres of land, will be fully established with the required infrastructures including; properly tarmacked and coordinated transport system, high voltage power supply and guaranteed provision of clean water. This is in addition to setting up proper sewerage management and disposal system and reliable internet connectivity, all of which have been seriously wanting.
“We started off in 2001 with the World Bank funding which came to a halt during the implementation stage and the government had to take up the financing initiative which wasn’t adequate enough because of several competing needs. And this explains the challenges we have been having,” Mr Kiggundu told journalist at the Silver Spring hotel during the stakeholders engagement.
He continued: “Recently we secured funding with UK Export Finance Group coupled with Standard Chartered UK and we have kicked off the KIBP project which will be completed in 42 months with our focus mainly being on infrastructure development in Namanve, beginning with the roads by end of this month.”
Speaking about the relevance of the stakeholders meeting in the grand scheme of things, Mr Kiggundu said it is important because the signature industrial park is an eco-system with all sorts of interests involved.
He said “We are going to put up roads, lighting facilities, railway lines, water and sewerage system and all these requires that we collaborate and coordinate even with the people surrounding so we need to engage them on issues of security, accessibility and many other things. So this engagement is critical because it could have impact on the livelihood of many other people both within and around us.”
Rationale for the park
According to the executive director of Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), Mr Gideon Badagawa, the fact that project is now likely to see the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t take away the fact that it a facility whose establishment is long overdue.
The private sector supports Namanve Industrial Park development because it will go a long way in easing the cost of doing business, considering that the country’s costs of doing business compared to Kenya, Tanzania and even Rwanda, is the highest in the region.
He said “Investor do not to do business where the burden and cost of fixing social services is on their shoulders. So we thought the industrial and business park where everything—power, water and railway lines among other facilities would be readily available is a good idea. And so we encouraged its development. So until it happens, our fingers will remain crossed.”
The industrial and business park, according to private sector players, particularly the manufacturers, will promotes integration across the value chain. This is because everything you need (abundant power, water, transport system) as a manufacture will be there under one roof, increasing industry players competitiveness.
As for the Director of Industrial and Business Parks at Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Mr Hamza Galiwango, once the industrial park is completed, it will accentuate the government import substitution agenda, resulting into multitude of employment and the much sought after foreign exchange inflows.