The Executive Director of the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Jolly Kaguhangire, has said government will by September this year compensate the 106 families whose land was earmarked for the development of Mbale Industrial and Business Park.
Ms. Kaguhangire made the pledge during a tour of UIA industrial and business parks in the eastern Uganda districts of Mbale, Soroti, Napak and Moroto, which mainly produce agricultural products but with potential for minerals extraction.
While meeting the Mbale LCV Chairman Benard Mujasi and other district officials, Ms. Kaguhangire said that the remaining batch of claimants and their families would be compensated by September 2017.
Located in Mbale Municipality, 619 acres of land along Mbale-Tororo highway was acquired with 864 claimants recorded by the Chief Government Valuer. UIA has so far compensated 758 families leaving 106 families yet to be compensated.
She urged the political leaders in the district to sensitise the local communities about the benefits of industrialization, saying that unwarranted land wrangles have delayed potential investments in the park that is meant to provide jobs to the populace.
In the 2015/2016 financial year budget government allocated Shs4.5 billion for the compensation of all those living on the land to pave way for its development. Those not compensated have been living and cultivating their plots as they wait for compensation.
The park is expected to host 30 enterprises and provide jobs to over 12000 people. Two years ago, government said it was negotiating a Sh495 billion to be used for opening up the park once squatters have left.
Meanwhile, on her tour Ms. Kaguhangire also visited the 182 acre Jinja Industrial Park, located in Kagogwa village, 11 kilometres from the town centre along Jinja-Kamuli highway.
Key investors in this park include Kiira Motors Corporation sitting on 100 acres of land, Pearl Health Sciences Limited on 10 acres, Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited on 12.4 acres, Nile Fishing Company on 3 acres and Uganda Free Zones Authority on 20 acres. She said UIA would extend a power line to the industrial zone to ease on the connection costs.
The UIA boss and her team visited also existing investors like Kakira Sugar Works with whom they discussed their expansion plans.
While in Soroti, Mrs. Kaguhangire lauded the level of infrastructural development in the Soroti Industrial Park and encouraged investors to apply for land there. Power lines have been extended to the Park, some sections of the roads tarmacked and several other murram roads opened up and under maintenance. The Soroti Fruit Factory already setting up at the Park is planned to start operating by January 2018.
In Napak, the Chief Administrative Officer, Stephen Oloya welcomed Ms. Kaguhanire and her team saying, investment opportunities in the areas include marble, the fertile arable land favoring the growth of sun flower, simsim and sorghurm.
Karamoja Industrial Park is located 12 kilometers South of Moroto Municipality along Moroto–Soroti highway in Kautokou and Nadunget Parishes. It covers an area of 417 acres and specifically targets mineral beneficiation activities to provide technical jobs to the people.
Ms. Kaguhangire and team toured Chinese Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group that is set to invest on a 600 acre facility in Tororo district to manufacture and process fertilizers, glass and steel products from the phosphates deposits that was identified in Sukulu region, Tororo.
This factory is expected to officially commission in February 2018 and hopes to produce 100 tonnes of fertilizer per annum with planned employment of 1200 Ugandans directly.
Responding to the different investors’ concerns, Ms. Kaguhangire said she would support the manufacturers in industrializing Uganda.
In 2009, government announced plans to establish 23 Industrial and Business Parks (IBPs) across the country with intention of creating jobs and adding value to raw materials. But eight years down the road now, government is yet to secure land in various districts to for the projects.
Some of the other districts earmarked for the industrial parks include Kampala, Mbarara, Lira, Masindi, Gulu, Kabarole and Kyenjonjo. Others are Masaka, Bushenyi, Iganga and Kasese among others.
Though on the slow pace, functional industrial parks are in Nalukolongo, Luzira, Bweyogerere and Namanve.