Ugandans very soon will have access to cheap, quality mobile phones and computers. This follows the ground breaking for the construction of a US$ 15m ICT plant that will be assembling mobile phones and computers in Uganda.
The facility is owned by Chinese firm Simi which is a subsidiary of ENGO Holding.
Speaking at the ground last week at the Namanve Industrial park, the Minister for Information Communication and National Guidance Frank Tumwebaze said the facility will enable Uganda as country improve her tax base and reduce imports bills.
“Uganda for many years we have been depending on Imported ICT gadgets such as computers and mobile phone which do not add any value to our economy. With the coming up of the Chinese Investors we shall be locally assembling our Mobile phones and computers this will make the prices for gadgets more lowers compare to the current price,” Tumwebaze said
The minister added that the demand for ICT related gadgets is high since the largest percentage of the country’s population are youth but not all are accessing the gadgets because of the cost on the local market. The minister assured the Simi company proprietors of ready market for their products under the Buy Uganda Build Uganda Policy.
“As the minister for ICT, I will ensure that all computers supplied to government Schools are procured from Simi; this will protect you against imported related ICT gadgets,” Tumwebaze assured the Chinese investors.
ENGO, executive director also the Simi CEO Ares Zhou said the project will offer great opportunities to young Ugandan electronics engineers.
“As company we shall largely depends on local human resources to man the plant this will help Ugandan young engineers to acquire practical skills related to ICT sector as we have done in Ethiopia where ENGO holding has established similar plant,” he said.
According to Zhou, they have secured the contractor although he did not disclose it to the media however he explained that the construction of the plant will cost US$15 million and it will be executed in phases, the first phase will last for six months and it will cost US$5 million (Shs18 billion).
The Namanve plant will have production capacity of about 100,000 pieces of mobile phones per month.
Speaking at the same event, Emily Kugonza the Chairman Board of Directors at the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), said the investment arm of the government is committed to supporting the investors to ensure value for their investment.
“The legal regime under which we operate is conducive to both local and international investors as UIA, we are much delighted to see the ground breaking for the construction of the ICT assembling plant we call up on other Investors to come and invest in the country’s ICT sector,” he said.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO