Kampala. Uganda Development Corporation (UDC), the government investment arm, has put together a 15-year work-plan that seeks to industrialise Uganda as well as improve social entrepreneurship.
The project, according to Mr Emmanuel Mutahunga, the UDC executive director, will be a big boost in the area of job creation and revenue generation while enhancing economic growth.
“We plan to invest in value addition and manufacturing of agricultural products, minerals and strategic base industries,” he said, emphasising that government intervention in industrialisation was necessary given the current high levels of unemployment.
Mr Mutahunga was speaking in an interview after presenting the strategic plan to a group of stakeholders at a consultative workshop in Kampala early this week.
“Under agro-based industries, [we plan to inject] Shs622b, mineral industrialisation [Shs1.3 trillion], while strategic base industries will take about Shs140b,” he added.
In the 2018/34 strategic investment plan, UDC plans to process agricultural raw materials such as tea, coffee, cocoa, fruits, cotton, cassava and hides and skin into finished products before they are put on the market.
UDC plans to have plants in different parts of the country such as West Nile, Elgon, Buganda, western and northern Uganda.
The entity also plans to add value to iron ore, petrol chemicals, brine (salt), sand and limestone with plans to establish plants in Karamoja, Kasese and parts of central Uganda.
Strategic base industries such as dry storage, cold chain and packaging are expected to be established in western Uganda and Buganda.
However, financing will be a key challenge given that the corporation was in the 2018/19 financial year only allocated Shs70b.
The entity is currently involved in the establishment of a fruit processing factory in Soroti with engagements in tea processing factories in Kabale and Kisoro and Atiak Sugar Factory.
UDC will be working on a strategy that establishes profitable businesses before exiting them through selling government interests to either partnerships or stock exchange.
Mr Ramathan Ggoobi, an economist a board member of UDC, said the strategic investment plan is designed to complement the private sector but focus will be put on priority areas especially those that are capital intensive.
Dr Fred Muhumuza, an economist and a lecturer at Makerere University, said research and development is crucial. However, it will be interesting to see how UDC links them to agriculture.
According to Amb Nathan Irumba, a veteran trade analysts, UDC should develop a thick skin because its performance levels will be judged by how much they are able to resist unwarranted government interventions.
Additionally, Mr Deogratious Mubiru, the Uganda Manufacturers Association board member, said UDC is nothing without money.
“For UDC to achieve its plan, it needs money. If the government is not willing to provide that, then UDC is wasting time,” he said.