President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has threatened to arrest foreign manufacturers masquerading as local investors to benefit from the incentives extended to local firms.
The President made the remarks while officiating at the opening of Picfare Industries Limited, along with other five factories and one hotel at the Namanve Industrial Park in Wakiso District on Wednesday.
A furious Museveni instructed the Finance Ministry to deal with the people he called ‘crooks’, whom he accused of helping foreign companies to register as local investors to benefit from the Buy Uganda, Build Uganda (BUBU) policy of promoting local content.
“I want to assure the manufacturers that the ministry should register complaints to do with these crooks and they will be arrested,” Mr Museveni said.
In response, State Minister for Investment and Privatisation Evelyn Anite, who was at the same event, promised to follow up on the President’s directive.
Mr. Museveni also warned Ministry of Finance officials, who he called bureaucrats, to stop imposing new taxes on manufacturers before they are consulted.
“I have told the Ministry of Finance that all the tax policies must be discussed by the manufacturers first. They are the ones on the frontline of fighting for economic independence of the country,” Mr Museveni said.
The President also promised to extend cheap power to the manufacturers.
“We have got dams which will provide cheap power like Karuma, Nalubale, Isimba, and Kira. These are going to supply power directly to the industrial parks, not through middlemen.”
Other factories that were launched yesterday include Crown Packaging Factory, Tian Tang factory, and the Nile Hotel Kampala.
Picfare industries committed to venture into printing ballot papers, bank cheque books, scholastic materials and documents such as academic certificates.
“Under this $12.5 million project, we shall venture into printing of security documents and other scholastic materials, which will save revenue that was initially lost to foreign firms,” Mr Mitul Jobanputra, the vice chairperson of the Picfare industries, said.
The Namanve Industrial Park has 20 industrial zones created by government in a bid to grow Uganda’s economy and sits on 2,200 acres.
According to Mr Morrison Rwakakamba, the newly appointed chairperson of the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), The industrial park has about 300 active investors who have 146 projects already underway. These have since generated about 17,500 jobs out of which 5,000 are direct jobs.