UGANDA, Mbarara | Real Muloodi News | A consortium of entrepreneurs in Mbarara city has had the 12 acre Mbarara Industrial Park returned to them by Uganda Investment Authority (UIA). The consortium, known as the Gatsby Club, is made up of small-scale and medium enterprise entrepreneurs.
The entrepreneurs were overjoyed to receive the land title for the park from State Minister of Finance for Privatization and Investment, Hon. Evelyn Anite, in a ceremony attended by central government and local leaders.
The East African Development Bank took the land in question when the Gatsby Club defaulted on a USh 2.5bn loan. UIA in 2009 intervened and cleared the bank loan.
According to Anite, the government’s intervention was to uplift the activities of small-scale and medium enterprises Mbarara.
“The Government came in to save and support the small-scale and medium enterprises, and to above all add value to locally produced goods and also create jobs for our people,” said Anite.
UIA maintained the park’s land title and granted the entrepreneurs new terms to meet the Government’s expectations for value addition and employment development. UIA has also started collecting rent to recoup the 2.5 billion.
During the last national elections, the businesspeople adopted a political stance, petitioning President Yoweri Museveni to erase their debts and restore their land.
Uganda Gatsby and UIA slowed the project of establishing Mbarara as a city until President Museveni ordered that small manufacturers in Mbarara be given their land titles. Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) has now returned the 12 acres of Mbarara Industrial Park to Gatsby Club.
Mbarara, Uganda’s second-largest city after Kampala, has an estimated population of 195,013 people and is divided into six districts. The government of Uganda designated Mbarara as one of seven cities in Uganda to help develop and decongest Kampala.
Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Cooperation David Bahati Finance said that the creation of the city is in line with the country’s urbanization policy “to end the congestion, sanitation issues and confusion in Kampala.”
Mbarara industrial park is one of 27 Industrial & Business parks that government plans to construct in different parts of the country over the next five years. The aim of the endeavour is to boost Uganda’s revenue base by creating jobs, easing accessibility of land for investments, and introducing new research, technologies and skills development opportunities.
Some are already on the verge of completion, like Kampala Industrial Park, Mubende Industrial Park, Namanve Industrial Park, among others. These industrial parks will enhance job creation. Other cities like Masaka, Arua, Jinja, Mbale, and Gulu will also establish industrial parks.
Hon Evelyn Anite said Uganda is the most open country for foreign direct investment in the East African region. The government is doing everything possible to reach middle-income status.
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