Local governments in four districts of southwestern Uganda have offered free land to Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) for the establishment of industrial and business parks (IBPs) in the region. The districts of Kisoro, Kabale, Mbarara and Rukungiri.
Kisoro District alone has offered 620 acres of land located in Kibaya in Rukudno Town Council, on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The District Chairman Alex Girishaka said the planned industrial park not only has a strategic international location but would easily be fed by a network of road and air communication networks as well as resources.
Girishaka who handed over the land title to Investment Minister, Evelyn Anite challenged UIA to actualize the industrial park, emphasizing that they want serious investors and not speculators. He encouraged locals to invest in the industrial park. Meanwhile, Rukungiri is offering 100 acres, Kabale 40 acres in Butobere, and Mbarara 20 acres in Rushozi in Kashari.
The land offers have been made during and inter-ministerial working visits by the State Minister of Finance (Privatisation and Investment), Evelyn Anite, and colleagues David Bahati (State Minister for Trade and Industry), Victoria Rusoke (State Minister for Local Government) and Sarah Nyabasiki (Youth and Children Affairs).
The ministerial visit is aimed at implementing President Yoweri Museveni’s directive to UIA to establish 25 industrial and business parks across Uganda in five years.
The president has also directed that local governments provide free land for industrial parks development because the government is no longer going to buy land for setting up industrial parks.
Uganda Investment Authority, as the government’s primary investment promotion agency has set out to develop an investment land bank that will be used to roll out the establishment of industrial parks in all regions of Uganda.
The authority also plans to establish at least five industrial parks every year, with at least one in every region, totalling 25 in five years’ time.
Speaking on Wednesday in Kisoro during a ceremony in which the district handed over the 620 acres of land, minister Anite said the government is prioritizing the development of industrial parks as a means to balanced and equitable development of Uganda.
Anite especially hailed the people of Kisoro for not only providing free land but for their district council for having passed a resolution endorsing the land offered as well as conducting a feasibility study that proves the viability of the industrial park. She appealed to other local governments to emulate the Kisoro gesture.
Anite said industrialisation would translate into much needed jobs especially for young people creation, value addition to local raw materials increased government revenues and sustainable economic development.
She said in establishing the industrial parks, UIA ensures that critical infrastructure like roads, industrial power and water, ICT and waste management facilities are in place to ease set up investment projects.
She also encouraged Ugandans to venture into industrial production, including in cottage industries, because the return on investment is quick and high. Minister Anite appealed to local leaders to mobilise the population to work in the industrial parks, adding that factories need both skilled and unskilled workers.
State Minister for Local Government, Victoria Rusoke, said the industrial parks will be synergized with the parish development model in order to spur regional development.
She warned local government leaders against frustrating investors through corruption.
The Chair of the UIA Board, Morrison Rwakakamba, the biggest beneficiaries of the government’s industrialisation programme are supposed to be domestic investors and the local population.
In his response, UIA Director General, Robert Mukiza, applauded the district leaders for offering land for industrial parks development, adding that they should ensure the lands have no encumbrances.
Mukiza said UIA will continue to push government’s industrialisation agenda to the letter by creating a conducive and enabling environment as well as support.