Kampala, Uganda: Chairman of the Roofings Group Dr. Sikander Lalani has appealed to the government to invest in the meter-gauge railway system to enable manufacturers transport inputs from Mombasa to Kampala at a cheaper cost.
“A 20ft container costs about $3500 for transportation on trucks from Mombasa in Kenya to Kampala in Uganda but the price would be less if you use railway transport.
They would probably not charge more than $3000 for a 20ft container depending on the weight,” he said.
The request is contained in the company’s performance report for the year 2020 that he presented to a team from the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) who were visiting Roofings as part of the aftercare service that the Authority provides to investors.
The team was led by the Authority’s Deputy Director-General Mr. Paul Kyalimpa and the Deputy Director Investment Promotion and Business Development Mr. Peter Muramira.
They were later joined by United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Uganda His Excellency Ambassador Abdulla Alshamsi.
Dr. Lalani also requested the government to enhance investments in water transport along Lake Victoria and Lake Albert to improve access to Northern Tanzania, Kenya and Eastern DR Congo.
According to the report, Roofings’ export value has grown from Sh213 billion in 2019 to Sh200 billion in 2020, tax contribution grew from Sh117 billion in 2019 to Sh150 billion in the year 2020 while power consumption increased from Sh24 billion to Sh26 billion in 2020.
The company achieved an investment level of $300 million from the $2 million invested in 1994 when the company was licensed to operate in Uganda by the UIA and currently invests an average of UShs 276 billion per year in value addition.
The company started with 60 employees, 925 employees in 2010 and by 2020 there were 1457 employees of which 56 are engineers, 203 are outsourced and 8,000 are employed indirectly.
“This year we envisage building more relationships with additional manufacturers to supply them with inputs. We will also engage in training current and upcoming manufacturers, fabricators to improve their efficiency,” noted Dr. Lalani
The company’s business development manager Stuart Mwesigwa revealed that Roofings is putting up a plant in Kenya and plans to invest in Ghana and South Sudan.
“We want an Uganda brand all over Africa,” he added.
Deputy Director-General Paul Kyalimpa expressed the willingness of UIA to support the company’s expansion plans as its operations support import substitution which is beneficial to the country.
“UIA will facilitate you to enable you reach out to the countries of East and Central Africa as per your plans.
The original plan of the industrial park had rail sidings and in further developing the park, the first phase considered developing critical infrastructure but the second priority is to have the railway connected to the Kampala Industrial and Business Park (KIBP),” he said.