By Ramson Muhairwe
Kampala Capital City Authority has initiated negotiations with Metu Bus Company to supply 1000 buses in Kampala.
This move follows President Yoweri Museveni's directive, dated November 20th, 2023, granting exclusive rights to Metu Katabazi, the proprietor of Metu Buses, to operate mass transit services in Kampala and its metropolitan areas.
President Museveni defended the decision, emphasizing its potential to bolster the local manufacturing sector, as Metu has the capability to fabricate buses within Uganda, contributing to both production and transportation services.
KCCA's Deputy Executive Director, Eng. David Luyimbazi, shed light on the authority's prior agreement with Metu two years ago, which was thwarted by the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the original deal, Metu was tasked with producing and deploying 1000 buses within 18 months, a target yet to be realized.
Eng. Luyimbazi revealed that current bus operators on routes like Kampala-Ntinda-Nakawa and Gayaza Road will need to relocate to other cities, making way for Metu's exclusive operations in Kampala.
However, this monopoly on bus transport has not been well-received by frequent bus users, who argue that competition would ensure fair prices and better services.
In light of previous instances where exclusive agreements have fallen short of standards, concerns have been raised about potential issues with Metu's 15-year exclusive rights in Kampala.
Notable examples include Vinci Coffee Company Limited and the Russian company Global Security Bank, both of which faced reputational challenges after receiving exclusive rights.
Eng. Luyimbazi expressed that these instances often involve the skipping of procurement guidelines. As this development unfolds, questions linger about the implications of Metu's extended exclusive rights and the potential impact on the city's bus transportation landscape.