A draft of the country’s first Automotive Industry Development Policy will be complete in three months, written by a taskforce of eight members inaugurated recently by Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, the minister of Science, Technology and Innovation.
The minister used the inauguration ceremony at the ministry’s head office at Rumee Towers in Kampala to rally Ugandans, especially the youth, to strategically position themselves to benefit from the abundant opportunities available in the car production value chain.
With a projected sale of 500,000 units (half a million cars) every year in the East African region by 2027, Tumwesigye said the car industry will be one of Uganda’s and the region’s major economic drivers for many years to come.
Coupled with a rapid growing population in Uganda and the African continent and vast natural resources in Uganda like iron ore, banana fibre and oil, the minister urged innovative and productive Ugandans to prepare to supply car parts and other services once Uganda goes full throttle into commercial car production.
The Kiira Vehicles Plant is under construction at the Jinja Industrial Park by the UPDF under its business arm - the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) headed by Lt Gen James Mugira.
It will be complete by 2021. The automotive task force includes experts such as Emmanuel Freddie Mugunga, the undersecretary, ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI), who is also the chairman; Eng Tony Bafirawala Kavuma, the chief executive mechanical engineer, ministry of Works and taskforce deputy chairman; Emmanuel Mutahunga, commissioner, external trade at the ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperative; Moses Ogwapus, commissioner, Tax Policy at the ministry of Finance; Jacob Lumonya, principal executive mechanical engineer, ministry of Works and Transport; Richard Ebong (manager Legal Metrology Department at Uganda Bureau of Standards); and Emmanuel Omene (principal economist, ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation).
The committee will be supported by a secretariat headed by Paul Isaac Musasizi, the chief executive officer, (CEO) of Kiira Motors Corporation. Dr Abubakar Muhammad Moki, commissioner, policy development at the Cabinet Secretariat, said the automotive development policy should be people-centered and serve the interests of the citizens.
“The policy should be informed and evidence-based, widely consulted, to be inclusive and easily communicated to enable easy access and compliance,” he stressed.
Taskforce chairman Mugunga said the policy is expected to make an important contribution to the transformation of the automotive industry, enabling increased value addition and local content participation while securing standardization and regulatory compliance by the value chain actors.