22 July 2014

Uganda: Govt Courts Indian Bank to Develop Namanve

Government is courting the Export Import Bank of India (Exim bank) to help develop the Namanve industrial park - a move that could revive business prospects in a park that has stalled for more than 10 years.

Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka revealed last week at Sheraton hotel that government had already courted the bank to invest in the park. She, however, did not mention how much money is needed to have the park run at full capacity. Roads, electricity extension lines, and other infrastructure are needed for the park to take off.

India Exim bank has extended credit assistance to other countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, Nigeria, and Togo, among others.

"We want to be an output-based country and not an input-based economy. We want to have a one-stop-shop centre, but also we are in talks with India's Exim bank to get money to develop Namanve as a flagship of industrial park," Kiwanuka said.

She was speaking at the closure of the Uganda Investment Climate Programme (UICP), which started in 2011 with support from the World Bank, to review and improve Uganda's business environment. The WB ended its support to the project last week.

The development of the Namanve park started in 2002 with a promise of the World Bank's support. The bank later pulled out after it suspected fraud, with claims that the cost of the project had been inflated. The initial estimated cost was Shs 350bn. It also cited environment and procurement concerns. Today, the 896-hectare land sprawls with brick-layers, food vendors, and grazing livestock, among others.

It was anticipated that the park would be at the forefront of turning Uganda into an industrialized economy by 2025. That will not happen now. Most of the land that had been allocated to developers remains idle.

Last December, the Uganda Investment Authority reclaimed more than 200 acres after bodies that had been allocated this land failed to develop it. A handful of companies such as Hima cement, Century Bottling Company Limited, and Roofings have developed their part in the park.

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