Govt warns officers on importing motorbikes 

Monday July 26 2021
mark003pix

Mr Paresh Shukla (right), the chief executive officer of Simba Automotive, shows the State Minister of Finance in charge of Investment, Ms Evelyn Anita, how they assemble motorcycles at their workshop in Kampala at the weekend. PHOTO/ STEPHEN OTAGE

By STEPHEN OTAGE

The Ministry of Finance has said any government accounting officer who continues to import motorcycles for ministries, departments and agencies will face disciplinary action for violating the presidential directive on the ban.

In 2018, President Museveni banned the importation of locally manufactured products by government following the introduction of the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy.
 “For those importing and selling privately, we cannot stop them because people have tastes and preferences. No ministry, department or agency is supposed to import motorcycles. Those who are doing it are breaking the law. 

They will be punished for causing financial loss to the country,” the State Minister of Finance in charge of Investment, Ms Evelyn Anite, said while touring Simba Automotive Factory in Kampala at the weekend. 
The company assembles motorcycles designed for the Ugandan market. 
She said a law was established because the importation was causing a lot of cash outflow from the country and yet the money can be used to help local industries to grow.
Ms Anite was also in the company of a group of four bikers led by the Turkish Ambassador to Uganda, Mr Alp Kerem.  

Mr Kerem said the bikers were flown into the country to take a motorbike road tour to tourist attractions in western region to promote them back home and also raise awareness about the investment opportunities in Uganda.
Mr Paresh Shukla, the chief executive officer Simba Automotive, said India beat Japan to become the world’s largest producer of motorcycles because of the partnerships the Indian government made with big Japanese motorcycle manufacturing companies such as Suzuki, Yamaha, and Honda in the 1990s.

Mr Shukla said annually, Uganda imports 100,000 motorcycles from India at about Shs380b .
He said Uganda can learn from the Indian government, which allowed Japanese companies to invest in India in the 1990s provided they partnered with companies such as Hero bicycles, Bajaj, TVs and Tata that enabled Indian companies to learn the technology for manufacturing motorcycles.

“The Indian government today is earning $12b annually from the boda boda industry, which is employing 25 million Indians. We designed motorcycles specifically for the Ugandan market to save the country from donating Shs380b annually to India,” he said.
Mr Shukla added that if government can protect for them the market, they are ready to build a manufacturing factory in Namanve and also feed the regional market like Congo where they export 1,000 bikes per month.
  

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