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Namanve Land Allocations Queried

The Kampala Industrial Park sits on 2,213 acres of land. About 1,039 acres have so far been allocated to 277 projects. The projects are expected to invest about $3.1billion and create about 75,000 jobs. But some of these allocations are being contested because they were not approved by the board. The term of office for UIA board members expired about two years ago and according to finance minister Maria Kiwanuka, the appointment of new board had been delayed by consultation.

Audio 3

Members of Parliament have questioned the allocation of land in Kampala Industrial and Business Park, Namanve, in the absence of a board within the Uganda Investment Authority to approve such decisions.

This after the parliamentary Committee on Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) learnt that the Uganda Investments Authority Executive Director Frank Sebbowa and State Minister for Investments Gabriel Ajedra are currently solely responsible for land allocations made to different developers.

The matter was first raised by the auditor general in his report for the year ended June 30th 2013. According to the auditor general, the absence of a board of directors in Uganda Investments Authority (UIA) creates gaps leading to pending strategic decisions and risk of inappropriate decisions.

The Kampala Industrial Park sits on 2,213 acres of land. About 1,039 acres have so far been allocated to 277 projects. The projects are expected to invest about $3.1billion and create about 75,000 jobs

But some of these allocations are being contested because they were not approved by the board. The term of office for UIA board members expired about two years ago and according to finance minister Maria Kiwanuka, the appointment of new board had been delayed by consultation.

UIA Board is provided for under the Investment Act, Cap 92 which provides that the Board shall be the governing body of the authority and shall be responsible for the discharge of the business and functions of the authority.

Kyadondo East MP Ibrahim Semujju Nganda Suggested that Gabriel Ajedra, the state minister for investment be reprimanded for usurping the powers of the board and continually allocating land at Namanve even where competent people have disapproved. He says the act tantamount to abuse of office.

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Nganda cited a case involving Allied Graphics System which was earlier given land to develop in Namanve was at a later point retracted on a directive of the Minister. The land was subsequently given to Picfare Industries.

But Uganda Investments Authority Executive Director Frank Sebbowa said initially, there was no agreement between him and the Minister on whether the land should be given to Picfare but he later agreed after receiving written instructions concerning the issue.

“There was no agreement on what should happen with Picfare but when I got written instructions from the Minister, I had to obey them although I was not convinced that Picfare being a paper industry was adding value to our Agricultural Industry', Sebbowa said.

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Uganda Investment Authority statistics show that the government previously needed $180 billion (about Ugx 470 billion) up from the budgeted $125million (about Ugx 350 billion) to develop the Namanve-based industrial park.