Mukono. Buses being assembled in Uganda will go for at least Shs400m each, Metu Zhoungtong Industries, the company behind the breakthrough, has confirmed.
The Namanve Industrial Park-based plant with investment worth Shs4b was commissioned by President Museveni on Saturday.
The President also flagged off a fully assembled Zhong Tong Bus after touring the factory.
Mr Metu Katabazi, the director of Metu Zhountong Industries, said the buses will save the companies who needed bus services a lot of money by purchasing the vehicles from here other than importing.
“We now need protection from the government because we will make loses if people leave buses here and import,” Mr Katabazi said.
He said the plant that was established two years ago has the capacity of assembling 20 buses a month.
More than 50 Ugandans are employed at the plant and 40 per cent of the work materials for assembling buses are manufactured in Uganda.
Mr Katabazi told President Museveni during the tour of the plant that he has started receiving orders for the buses but declined to reveal more information when asked by journalists.
At least two fully assembled buses were already parked in the compound of the plant whereas others were nearing completion at the weekend.
A manager of one of the bus operators in Kampala, who preferred anonymity, told Daily Monitor yesterday that buses purchased and imported from Mombasa cost between Shs400m and Shs600m.
President Museveni announced that he has offered to provide more than 100 acres of land to Metu Zhountong Industries to expand the venture from only assembling buses to other types of cars.
“I am very happy that this is not just an assembling industry because most of the materials are fabricated here and then the bus is assembled. They have helped demystify the making of vehicles. They have showed that making cars is not tough,” the President said.
Mr Museveni said Ugandans will be informed of the issues agreed upon during their brief closed door meeting at the site. He said the land will be outside Namanve where Metu Zhoungtong Industries is established.
Much as Uganda has not yet made a breakthrough in manufacturing its own cars, the government is implementing a ban on the importation of motor vehicles which are more than 15 years old from the date of manufacture.
Similar Government plan
Promise. The Minister of Science Technology and innovations, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, in January assured Ugandans that before end of 2019, Uganda will be having its own made solar powered buses on the road.
Failed attempt. In 2014, Uganda Investment Authority commissioned two companies- Kiira Motors Corporation owned by Makerere University College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology and China Engineering Limited- to start car production in the country by 2018, but it passed before Ugandans could see a locally made vehicle on the road.