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MPs Query UDC's Proposal to Capitalize Private Enterprises

The investments on the list include 60 billion Shillings to capitalize two road construction companies,10 billion Shillings for a Cocoa processing plant in Bundibugyo, another 10 billion for the Masaka fruit factory and, 21.9 billion Shillings for the expansion of buildings as well as procurement of the Orange Line for the Soroti fruit factory.

Audio 4

Members of the Budget Committee of Parliament have asked their counterparts in the Trade commitee to examine the viability of investing 269 billion Shillings through Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) to multiple private enterprises.

This followed a presentation of the report of the  Trade committee on the National Budget Framework Paper for the financial year 2022/2023 to the budget committee. In the report, commitee Chairperson Mwine Mpaka said that under the manufacturing program, the sector faces a budget shortfall of 548 billion Shillings in unfunded priorities of which 269.4 billion is required for the capitalization of enterprises under Uganda Development Corporation.

The investments on the list include 60 billion Shillings to capitalize two road construction companies,10 billion Shillings for a Cocoa processing plant in Bundibugyo, another 10 billion for the Masaka fruit factory and, 21.9 billion Shillings for the expansion of buildings as well as procurement of the Orange Line for the Soroti fruit factory.

In the same allocation, 5.5 billion Shillings is needed for coffee processing in Kampala, another 5.5 billion Shillings to procure land and construct a Soluble Coffee factory in Wakiso, two billion to address the working capital needs for Mabale tea, 10 billion for master planning and procurement of machinery in Kyarushozi tea, one billion Shillings for coffee grading and roasting in Masaka, 30 billion Shillings for grains value addition and 50 billion for civil works at Moroto-Ateker cement factory.

Mpaka told the Budget Committee that the government has shares in some of the listed enterprises while others are private. However, the Budget Committee tasked Mpaka and the Trade committee to investigate and ascertain the ownership of the companies, the shares owned by the government in each of them and the viability of the investments, among others.

Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba asked the Trade Committee to ascertain who owns the enterprises, why they are being capitalized, and how the government will benefit from the investment.

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Sheema Municipality MPDickson Kateshumbwa tasked the Trade Committee to explain the four billion Shillings capitalization for a steel processing factory in Western Uganda, yet there are reports that there is no capacity for this. Kateshumbwa also sought to know who owned the factory and how they got selected.

Amolatar Woman MP Agnes Atim Apea questioned what informed the investments and inquired whether they are aligned to the National Development Plan. She cited a need to interrogate UDC to ascertain the choice of these investments.

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Patrick  Nsamba Oshabe, the Kassanda North MP said that UDC is now becoming a conduit for mismanagement and asked whether the governance challenge in UDC had been resolved before the money can be allocated.

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Mpaka told the committee that they have already been examining the shares of the government in some of the companies, a task that takes a lot of time. He however said that they will look into who owns all the companies that are getting support and also the viability of investments.

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Mpaka also clarified that UDC got a new Board that was put in place last year in December, and that its operations should be better.  

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