By E K Benj – Updated at 0848 GMT on Friday 23rd July 2021
STATE HOUSE, ENTEBBE: Kampala Capital City Authority and the METU bus industries have finalized plans for the company to assemble and manufacture buses to ease transport needs in the greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA).
“The idea of producing buses and trains in Kampala is to lessen the crowds and reduce piki piki ‘motor cycles’ ”Katabazi says. He added “if you give me the concession to operate Kampala Services and I fabricate here, KCCA doesn’t have to incur costs, they will be recovered through operations.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni noted this will address the issue of too many small operations at zero budget for the government.
The President in a final push to get the project off the ground after three years of bureaucratic red-tape that threatened to sabotage it summoned all stakeholders including Vice President H.E Jessica Alupo, Minister for General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister Kasule Lumumba, the Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija, Minister for Investment Evelyn Anite, the Minister for Kampala Misi Kabanda, KCCA Executive Director Dorothy Kisaka and the METU Bus Industries proprietor Metu Katabazi to address the matter.
“I handed this matter to the Ministry of Finance, Attorney Generals office….nothing moved. I hear some people asked for bribes. Later I heard that people from Finance wanted loans from Africa Development Bank but the condition was that we import buses. How can we import buses? I have called you here to finish this today,” he said.
The Minister of Finance Matia Kasaijja said the project delayed because they were waiting for KCCA to work on the roads which are narrow and may inconvenience or cause accidents.
“Projects go hand in hand. We had to work on the roads and widen them for the buses to open. If roads are too narrow, it may cause inconveniences and cause accidents. I also wrote to the bank to inform them that the US$12million that was meant for importing buses should be added on the roads,” he said.
The President was however not happy that the Ministry was focusing on the roads and not the manufacturing.
“What I will not accept are contracts that make you import buses. There is no way somebody can tell me that peripheral roads are more important than factories. How can a planner equate productive capacity with a road especially manufacture of automobiles,” he said, adding, that in the 60s, the Kabandole bus services where moving around Kampala and neighbouring areas.
KCCA Executive Director Dorothy Kisaka assured President Museveni that following approval by the attorney General the process has been completed after the signing of the agreement and MoU between KCCA and METU.
Recently Mr Metu Katabazi who embarked on a bus assembly plant in Kasese said they would invest US$50 million in the next five years and hope to build capacity to manufacture over 100 buses including the 4-metre city buses, 4.8 to 18 metre long buses for rapid transport for the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA) including the Kampala city centre and the inner suburbs.