The development of Uganda’s nascent automotive industry took yet another giant step when Minister of Science Technology and Innovation, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, inaugurated a eight member taskforce to draft the country’s first Automotive Industry Development  Policy .

At a colourful function held at the Ministry’s head office at Rumee Towers in Kampala , Dr. Tumwesigye seized the moment to rally Ugandans especially the youth to strategically position themselves to benefit from the abundant opportunities available along the car production value chain.

With the automotive market expected to hit 500,000 units (half a million cars)  bought every year in the East African Region alone by 2027, Dr. Tumwesigye noted that the 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 not only in Uganda but the African continent at large and vast natural resources in Uganda like Iron Ore, Banana fiber and oil, the jovial minister hastened to add that innovative and productive Ugandans should prepare themselves to supply car parts and other services once Uganda goes  full throttle in the production of cars at a commercial scale. He emphasised  the need for a skilled human resource to ensure compliance to acceptable international standards .

The Kiira Vehicles Plant is being  constructed at the Jinja Industrial Park by the Uganda People’s Defence Force , (UPDF) under its business army -the National Enterprise Corporation ,NEC headed by Gen James Mugira and is slated to be completed by 2021.

The task force is mandated to conclude its  work in three months and is composed of experts who include ,Mr. Emmanuel  Freddie Mugunga , Under Secretary at The Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) who is also the Chairman , Eng Tony Bafirawala Kavuma, the Chief Executive Mechanical; Engineer at the Ministry of Works  and Deputy Chairman of the Task Force, Mr. Emmanuel Mutahunga ,Commissioner External trade at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperative , Mr Moses Ogwapus Commisiner Tax Policy at the Ministry of Finance , Planning and Economic Development, Mr. Jacob Lumonya ,Prinicipal Executive Mechanical Engineer at ministry of Works and Transport, Mr. Richard Ebong , Manager Legal Metrology Department at Uganda Bureau of Standards and   Mr. Emmanuel  Omene Principal Economist Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation.

.The committee will be supported by a secretariat headed by Mr. Paul Isaac musasizi ,the Chief Executive Officer , (CEO) of Kiira Motors ,the country’s flagship for cars made in Uganda  . Other memebrs of the secretariat are ,Arthur  Tumusiime Asiimwe, Allan Muhumuza, Pauline Korukundo and  Thatcher Nakimuli Mpanga .

Dr ,Abubakar Muhammad Moki, the Commissioner Policy Development at the Cabinet Secretariat told the Task Force members to draft  an automotive development policy that will be people centered and serve the interests of the citizen. “The policy should be informed and evidence based , widely consulted , to be inclusive and easily communicated to enable easy assess and compliance,” he stressed .

According to the Task Force ‘s chairman Mr. Mugunga , Uganda’s Automotive Development 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,

The taskforce will periodically report to the wider multi-sectoral stakeholder consultative forum to consider the developed policy proposals. The multi-sectoral stakeholder consultative forum chaired by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of science ,Technology and Innoation  shall include , Ministry of justice  and Constitutional Affairs, Kiira Motors Corporation , Uganda National Bureau of Standards ,Ministry of East Africa Community affairs, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development ,Ministry of Trade Industry and cooperatives ,Uganda Revenue Authority , Uganda National Roads Authority , Ministry of Works , Uganda Investment Authority , Uganda national bureau of Standards , Uganda Police force and the Ministry of Science Technology and innovation.

Writer is a media ,communications consultant

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