BY Samuel Nabwiiso.
The Government of Uganda through the Uganda Free Zones Authority (UFZA) has inaugurated the construction of the first public Free Zone in Uganda.
The free zone facility is established at Entebbe International Airport and it’s estimated to cost Government UGX48 Billion. Upon construction completion whose construction is said to last for 6 months . The Entebbe International Airport Free Zone will have facilities for Agro – processing Mineral processing warehousing and bulking, simple assembly among other like offices for government agencies that support trade.
Also upon completion, the facility will support increased production, quality assurance and value addition to commodities that are widely produced by the masses to improve house hold incomes and create employment thus eliminating poverty as well as improve the value of Uganda’s export, both in the region and Internationally.
Speaking at the site handing over of the 5acres piece of land to the contractor (National Enterprise Corporation), UFZA Executive Director Hez Kimoomi Alinda said, “the Entebbe based Free Zone is expected to create about 240 direct Jobs and significantly also contribute to an increase in volumes of processed goods and exports from Uganda.
He also added by explaining that, although Uganda is an agricultural based state, the country’s earning from the sector is still low despite the fact that prices of manufactured and value added goods have significantly continued to rise.
“This Phenomenon has created a situation where hardworking Ugandans in the agricultural sector, farm have been affected due to the country’s limited capacity to process, preserve and add value to what has been harvested. This is government why has decided to embark on strategies that can help the country to add value in what its nationals produce on large scale. Interventions like this by the UFZA will play a big role towards adding value to our produces” He said.
At the same event the Chairman Board of Directors of UFZA Eng. Dr. Fredrick Kiwanuka, challenged the contractor to respect the contract, which the two agencies agreed on especially, completing the project on the stipulated time period of six months and executing the project professionally.
“As Board of Director, we expect construction of the free zone, not to take more than six months as NEC and UFZA have agreed, but also the contractor must ensure quality, that is when government will realize value for Money”.
In response, Lt. General James Mugira, the Managing Director of NEC, representing the contractor, assured UFZA that NEC, will execute the project in time because the company has strong manpower.
“The Issue of time and quality of work is not our problem because NEC has good records when it comes to projects execution because of the quality of manpower’s it has” He assured UFZA.
Free Zones are customs controlled areas where goods introduced into the designated area are generally regarded tax exempt, as far as duties are concerned as being outside the customs territory. The free zones are schemes setup by government to boost export oriented investment.