President Yoweri Museveni launched four factories at Sino Mbale Industrial park on Thursday.
The factories produce detergent, electric cables, textile and LED lights.
President Museveni oversaw the ground breaking of an automobile factory before proceeding to address his audience, who were predominantly government officials and local authorities.
Museveni emphasized the importance of industrialisation in diversifying Uganda’s agriculture based economy which, in his view, cannot single handedly lead the country to the much awaited social economic transformation.
He pledged more land to Chinese investors to expand their investments.
He explained his rationale, “We have 600 acres, if you cultivate “muhogo” you can calculate how much you can make but for us we knew that if you put factories there you earn more than what you earn from “muhogo” and you create more jobs. That is why we said no , this land must be for factories.”
He added, “This cable factory will save us about UGX 800 billion, that is about $200m. Just one factory using 10 acres. And it is bringing so much money and the 600 acres which is less than a square mile, when the whole place is built with factories which are planned, it will create 15,000 jobs.”
Industry, investment and privatization minister Evelyn Anite said the new factories have already reduced the strain on the Ugandan shilling through reduced import bill.
The minister further urged local entrepreneurs to take advantage of government incentives and venture into industrialization and manufacturing. Available incentives include 10 year tax holiday, free stamp duty, tax exemption on importation of plants and machinery, security and reduction on electricity among others.
She said, “A Uganda who wants to become an industrialist or a manufacturer does not have to purchase land, we allocate this land to them free of charge.”
NRM Women’s league chairperson Lydia Wanyoto said industries offer more than just technological transfer and obvious employment opportunities. She advised Ugandans to appreciate every job opportunity in the upcoming industries.
She said, “Many industries, when they begin, they come with experts from abroad but with time our young people are able to learn on the job and there will be technological transfer, as we reduce number of expatriates, we increase the local capacity and local competencies.”
Unlike the usual mammoth crowds associated with the president’s visits, the event was restricted to few dignitaries majorly government officials. This was in an effort to minimize chances of aiding the spread of the Coronavirus.
Sino Mbale industrial park sits on 60 acres of land donated by government. 7 more industries are in the offing according to the chairman of Sino Uganda Paul Zhang.