August 22—Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) executive director, Jolly Kaguhangire, has promised to speed up financial compensation to families whose land has been taken up for the development of a new industrial park in Mbale, eastern Uganda.
To create the Mbale Industrial Park (MIP), a total of 619 acres of land was acquired with a total of 864 claimants recorded in the Chief Government Valuer’s report. To date, UIA has compensated 758 families which leaves 106 families still waiting.
While meeting the Mbale LC5 Chairman and Resident District Commissioner, Kaguhangire assured local leaders that the remaining batch of affected persons and families will be compensated by the end of September 2017.
The promise comes against a backdrop of a heated public debate to amend the Constitution and allow the government to requisition land specifically for national infrastructure projects and handle compensation issues later. The move is expected to quicken implementation of vital projects, but several quarters of civil society have labelled it a mere land-grab.
Kaguhangire made an effort to highlight the benefits of industrialization and dampen any negative aspects that might affect potential investment in MIP. Kaguhangire was recently in Mable district as part of a tour of Eastern region where she was touring UIA industrial parks in the districts of Mbale, Soroti and Karamoja (Napak and Moroto).
The UIA Executive Director also visited the 182 acre Jinja Industrial Park site located in Kagogwa village, 11 kilometres from Jinja town centre along the Jinja-Kamuli highway. The 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 three acres and Uganda Free Zones Authority on 20 acres. UIA will extend an 11KV power line to the industrial zone to pave way for these countries to take possession.
While in Jinja, the UIA team took an opportunity to visit existing investors among which was Kakira Sugar Works (part of the Madhvani Group of Companies) with whom they discussed their expansion plans. Nearly 10 years ago the Group had thoughts of expanding into northern Uganda, but the subsequent controversies surrounding their plans seems to have cooled the Group’s enthusiasm.
While in Soroti, Kaguhangire appreciated the level of infrastructural development in the Soroti Industrial Park and encouraged investors to apply for space, because it is a strategically located park. Power lines have been extended to the park while some sections of the roads already tarmacked and several other murram roads opened up and under maintenance. Soroti Fruit Factory already setting up at the park is planned to start operating by January 2018.
While in Napak, the Chief Administrative officer, Stephen Oloya told the Executive Director and her team about the opportunities for investment in the area which include excavation of Napak Hill rich in marble, the fertile arable land available, favoring sunflower, simsim and sorghurm production.
The Karamoja Industrial Park is located 12 kilometres south of Moroto Municipality along the 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. The local leaders of Moroto district committed to engage and sensitize the community of Moroto to be more welcoming to the idea of industrialization in their community