One of the developments at the Namanve Industrial Park

The Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) Engineering Brigade is to take the lead in building the 22 Industrial Parks aimed at harnessing investments across the country, President Yoweri Museveni has said.

Addressing the inaugural meeting of the new cabinet, Mr Museveni said the move will help ease investments, one of the pillars of his plans to move Uganda to middle-income status in five years.

‘To make it even easier for the investors to come in, we must build the 22 Industrial Parks we have talked about for so long.  It is not serious to give an investor a swamp that he must drain at his own cost… the Industrial Parks should be built by the UPDF Engineering Brigade.  You should complete the one of Namanve, construct the one of Nakasongola, etc.  You can even think of using manual labour of the prisoners,’ Mr Museveni said.

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He advised the line minister to ensure that five industrial parks are built every year.

‘It is not complicated technology: make the access roads, pull electricity, pull piped water, pull the internet under-ground cables.  It is, mainly, civil works,’ he said adding: ‘How can our engineers fail to do this?’

Further, Mr Museveni advised the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to ensure that the respective requisite procedures for investments are expedited.

‘Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) must get all the necessary licences in two days.  These must include the Environmental Impact Assessment.  None of these factories is likely to be a pioneering one in the world.  Similar ones have been built in other parts of the world,’ he said.

Already, 21 areas across the country have been identified by the UIA for the construction of industrial and business parks and these include Kampala (Luzira and Namanve), Arua Fort Portal, Hoima, Mubende, Rakai, Kasese, Kabale, Bushenyi, Mbarara, Nakasongola and Luwero. Others areas are Masaka, Jinja, Iganga, Tororo, Mbale, Moroto, Soroti, Gulu, Lira and Arua.

Meanwhile, President has also weighed in on the investments in the sugar industry saying the pioneer investors in the sector like the Madhvanis, Mehtas and the Kinyara Sugar Corporation need to be protected from emerging proximity competition.

‘Who violated the Government policy of not licensing new sugar factories within the radius of 50kms of an existing factory?’ he asked, adding: ‘These mistakes must be rectified if they are injurious to the old sugar producers’.