By Michael Woira and Jackie Mayega
(UGANDA MEDIA CENTRE)
In April 2018 Cabinet that sat at State House Entebbe, approved the Roadmap for Commercialization of the Kiira Electric Vehicle Project and a Seed Fund of Shs143.7 billion to Set up and kick Start operations of the Vehicle Plant over a Period of Four Years, 2018/19-2021/22.
This was after the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development approved a comprehensive feasibility study for setting up and operating the Kiira Vehicle Plant in Mutai, Jinja district.
Shs24 billion was allocated for Kiira Motors Corporation activities in the Financial Year 2018/19 and by February 2019, Shs19 billion had been released to Kiira Motors Corporation, Shs15 billion was transferred to the Contractor to start construction of the Kiira Vehicle Plant in Jinja which already started and is already at some stage that is very encouraging.
On 3rd March, Kiira Motors Corporation and Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation invited all Government Communicators to have a feel of the Kayoola Bus test drive as it was heading to the Kiira Vehicle Plant in Jinja Mutai where the assembling will be made starting in 2021.
A group of Government communicators from all entities converged at the Ministerial Headquarters to enjoy the ride in our own manufactured Kayoola bus and by 10am the bus was flagged off by the Minister of ICT and National Guidance; Hon. Judith Nabakooba and Hon. Elioda Tumwesigye; the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation.
When the Kiira EV project started years ago, Government of Uganda, acting through the Uganda Investment Authority, allocated 100 acres of land to the project for the establishment of Kiira Vehicle Plant. Uganda owns one of the best established vehicle plants in the region. The land that was allocated to the plant is located at the Jinja Industrial and Business Park, Mutai on Kamuli Road.
The Kiira Vehicle Plant Site was handed over to the National Enterprises Corporation (NEC), the business arm of UPDF. Kiira Motors Corporation was officially handed over to NEC on 18th January, 2019, who deployed security and began operations on 11th February, 2019.
The Vehicle Plant site developments as per the Engineers on site say that the project was planned to take place in several phases. It is said that this plant will always produce a capacity of over 80 vehicles per month and 5,000 vehicles per annum which is good for thecountry via generating incomes and employment for Ugandans. The plant shall manufacture both buses and saloon cars increasing the ratio of purchase by Ugandans.
The Facilities that are already under construction include the Assembly Shop and Plant Offices, also inclusive will be the Plant Circulation Roads, Power and Water Distribution Systems, Waste Management Facilities, Perimeter Fence and Gate Facilities, Drainage System and Whole Vehicle Test Facilities and these are already also under construction as per the observation during the visit at the vehicle plant.
Eng kayima;”The National Enterprises Corporation was assigned roles of Site Clearance; Construction of a 3.6km perimeter fence and Two Gates; Excavation of a 1.4km Open Channel along the Western Boundary; Construction of the Assembly Shop, Offices, R&D Space, Materials Storage Areas, Overhead Water Reservoir, Container Yards, Finished Vehicle Park Yard, and Plant Monument; Construction and Installation of Servicing Facilities including the Plant Campus Circulation Roads, Power Distribution, Water Distribution, I.T Network Backbone, Drainage and Waste Management Systems and the defects liability period shall be for 12 months commencing on the date of Practical Completion of the Project”.
According to Maj. Engineer Geoffrey Kayima, the project has so far reached the 50% mark since commencement of works in February, 2019. Construction is expected to last two and a half years before the project is up and running. Maj. Engineer also brought to our attention, the fact that NEC is also establishing wide roads that will be used for test drives upon completion of each car to maintain the stand of cars produced at the plant. This shows the effort that is being put in this project to ensure that it thrives.
As per now, the construction and installation of a 3.7km long 33kV medium voltage electricity line connecting the Kiira Vehicle Plant Site to the national electricity grid was already completed, tested and commissioned by Umeme. The construction and installation of a 5.4km long 6-inch water pipeline connecting the plant site to the municipal water supply system was also completed, tested and commissioned by National Water and Sewerage Corporation.
Once the project is completed, thousands of Ugandans especially the youth professional and non professional will get jobs and this will help reduce on the unemployment rates which have been so high in the areas of Jinja and this has been the main issue that has been put forward in NRM’s manifesto.