Investors calls for swift action to avert flooding of Mbale Industrial park

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Investors calls for swift action to avert flooding of Mbale Industrial park
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Chinese investors at the Sino-Uganda Mbale Industrial Park have appealed for swift intervention by the government to avert a potential flooding disaster, citing frustration over the delayed fulfillment of a pledge to establish a permanent drainage channel.

The investors, who had previously lost millions of dollars in a devastating flood in 2022, are now worried that another flood could wipe out their businesses and investments altogether.

The number of factories at the park has increased from 20 to nearly 50, and the investors fear that the magnitude of damage could be catastrophic if a flood were to occur again.

"We are at a critical point and need urgent attention from the government," said Wang, the Assistant to the Chairperson of Sino-Uganda.

"We cannot continue to operate in a situation where we are constantly at risk of flooding. We need a permanent drainage channel to ensure the safety of our investments and employees."

The investors say government had promised to establish the drainage channel after the previous flood, but work on the project has yet to begin.

"We urge the government to take swift action to fulfill its pledge and establish a permanent drainage channel," said Wang.

"We are not asking for charity; we are asking for what was promised to us. We need a safe and stable environment to operate our businesses and create jobs for Ugandans. If another flood were to happen, it would not just affect us, but also our partners in neighboring countries who import our goods. We cannot afford to lose our reputation and our customers because of a preventable disaster."

The Chinese investors have appealed to President Museveni and other government officials to intervene and ensure that the drainage channel is built as soon as possible.

Another unfulfilled pledge that could stifle progress is the inadequate power supply.

The government had pledged to dedicate 240MW substation for sustained development of industries.

However, this has not kicked off according to Wang yet the number of factories is fast outgrowing the available 25 MW.

While addressing the president at the launch of factories in 2023, Energy Minister Ruth Nankabirwa verbally approved Sino Uganda Chairperson (Paul Zhang) proposal to refinance the construction of a permanent substation as an interest-free loan to the government.

However, it is not clear whether it was formalized.

Industry and Privatization Minister Evelyne Anite pledged to present the issue in the cabinet for discussion.

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