NCS to support sports equipment manufacturing

Tashobya shares a light moment with Kayongo and Collins Ssemmanda after trying out woodball. PHOTO/ GEORGE KATONGOLE .

What you need to know:

The woodball federation in partnership with the Chinese Embassy has been making its own equipment including mallets, balls and gates at Ndejje University.

Uganda has a long history of playing various sports but relies on imports to acquire the required equipment. The National Council of Sports (NCS) has more than 50 affiliated sports federations. The emergence of more sports is a big opportunity to produce goods in Uganda for both the domestic market and the rest of East Africa.

But Uganda keeps importing sports goods especially from China, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, USA, South Africa, United Kingdom and India, among others amounting to $8.25b in 2020.

The NCS chairman Ambrose Tashobya said during a familiarisation tour to the Uganda Woodball Federation on Friday in Nakulabye that the government has embarked on a campaign to attract sports manufacturing investors in Uganda to reverse that trend.

Paul Mark Kayongo, the woodball president in Uganda and Africa had just told Tashobya that the federation is finalising plans to set up a sports equipment manufacturing plant at the proposed multi-purpose woodball development project in Garuga.

Kayongo explained that after meeting President Yoweri Museveni about the proposal, he suggested to the federation to expand their scope of work.

Consequently, the woodball federation in conjunction with Ndejje University have plans to start manufacturing equipment for woodball, football, netball, baseball, cricket, athletics and table tennis.

The woodball federation in partnership with the Chinese Embassy has been making its own equipment including mallets, balls and gates at Ndejje University.

“But we got a challenge in making standard equipment. We want to be able to manufacture equipment that meets international standards. We no longer need to import sports equipment,” Kayongo said.

The proposed facility, which will be funded by the government, is estimated to cost more than $45b.

Tashobya, who was visiting the association for the first time since he was appointed chairman of NCS in February this year.

Tashobya, who was impressed with the work done by woodball, saying it is the most organised sport he has been to so far, explained that NCS has signed a memorandum with the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) to incentivise factories for sports equipment.

He said that the government's primary goal is to lessen Uganda's reliance on imports, improve domestic manufacturing and innovation capabilities, which would increase domestic job creation.

“We have to have space in the industrial park so that we don’t rely on importation. I would encourage you [woodball federation] to acquire space in the industrial park and have the factory. You already meet the requirements,” Tashobya said.


Woodball is special

Tashobya, called “our own” by Kayongo, lauded woodball for its foresight stressing that he was going to work towards achieving their goal.

“We have 52 sports federations but we don’t have even 10 that are organised as woodball. You need support to be able to grow more,” Tashobya said.

Celebrating 13 years of existence, woodball was started at Ndejje University and is a major part of the university games while leaving a footprint on schools and youth.

Ndejje University vice chancellor Prof Eriabu Lugujjo said Ndejje University, which houses the woodball federation, takes sports seriously.

“Sports is for national building and it is significant to us as it helps our graduates bloom in the job market,” Pro Lugujjo said.


UTILITY

Key conditions for accessing incentives

Acquisition of Investment licence and certificate from UIA;

Meeting a minimum capital requirement for 50,000 dollars for local investors;

Investing in value-adding projects;

Using at least 70 per cent of local raw materials;

Employing 70 per cent Ugandans or East Africans who, in total, consume 70 per cent of the wage bill.

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