By Solomon Hamala
The Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) Engineering Brigade will construct the 25 Industrial Parks that Cabinet approved on Monday, 3rd May 2021.
This was revealed by the State Minister for Investment yesterday 4th May 2021 while on a site tour of the Bugiri sugar factory located in Bugubo village Kapyang Sub County, Bugiri district.
Anite said construction of the Industrial Parks is to be carried out by the Uganda People’s Defense Force Engineering Brigade with support from other local contractors.
Evelyn Anite also revealed that Cabinet on Monday approved a proposal to set up 25 Industrial Parks in all the sub regions in Uganda with the aim of providing job opportunities to over 250,000 people.
Anite said construction of the Industrial Parks is expected to begin before the close of this year.
“As government we want to reduce on the number of people flocking urban areas seeking job opportunities,” she said.
“I want to report to you that President Yoweri Museveni during the cabinet meeting yesterday (Monday) has approved the whole idea of setting up Industrial Parks in this country as part of his campaign manifesto to fight poverty amongst locals,” she said.
She said cabinet has also approved a proposal to reduce on electricity tariffs for huge factories to only shillings five cents for every unit.
“This is aimed at encouraging investors set up businesses that will provide job opportunities to our graduates besides paying taxes,” she said.
Anite cautioned investors against in fighting saying the habit is scaring away others from joining the market.
“Some investors are accusing others of being given tax free incentives leaving them out yet there is a criteria for selection by government,” she said.
She urged the proprietors of Bugiri Sugar Company limited to deal directly with farmers by giving out permits instead of using middlemen saying farmers are being exploited.
“These middlemen come to factories claiming they are farmers yet not and later sell out the permits to farmers at very high prices,” she said.
Anite urged farmers with less than ten acres of land to desist from sugar cane growing saying they are likely to register huge loses compared to those with huge chunks of land.
“Rather plant other crops for purposes of fighting food insecurity because sugar factories will not take your produce,” she said.
The Member of Parliament elect for Bukooli North constituency, Stephen Baka Mugabi said construction of the sugar cane factory in the district is a great sigh of relief since farmers who have been stuck with their produce for the last few years will be able to secure market.
“Some sugar cane farmers in the district had resorted to burning down their plantations saying there was no market,” he said.
Mugabi urged investors to set up more factories in other districts across Busoga sub region to enable sugar cane farmers secure market easily without moving long distances.
“I have been stuck with over 200 acres of sugar cane and decided to even give out part of it to locals for eating during COVID 19 because there was no market,” he said.
He hailed the ruling NRM government for ushering in an atmosphere of peace that has enabled investors set up business projects that have provided job opportunities to youths countrywide.
The managing director Bugiri sugar company limited, Elison Karuhanga said the factory is expected to begin full operations by December this year.
Karuhnaga said the factory is to crush 35,000 tons of sugar cane daily with a capacity to produce 4800 bags of both industrial and domestic sugar on a daily basis.
He said the management decided to embark on production of industrial sugar after realizing there was demand locally since most factories for syrup and those of soft drinks were importing.
“Why should factories making soft drinks and syrups import sugar yet it can be made here locally,” he said.
The Deputy Resident District Commissioner Bugiri, Moses Nseeko said majority of farmers have always expressed concern over the decline in sugar cane prices.
“Most of the farmers have been complaining that they are being exploited by sugar cane factories but now it’s time to celebrate,” he said.
Majority of farmers interviewed by eastnews.co.ug urged management of Bugiri sugar company to avoid dealing with middlemen if they are to have a steady supply.
Amos Waako, a farmer in Bugubo village said most farmers are likely to get discouraged after being exploited by middlemen who demand huge sums of money in terms of commission and later abandon the business leaving the factory owner stuck with no cane.
“It’s time management realizes that there has to be a steady supply of the produce in order to remain in the market,” he said.