Government has broken ground for the construction of the first ICT assembling and manufacturing factory at Namanve Industrial Park.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place today as witnessed by ICT minister Frank Tumwebaze, State minister for Investments, Evelyn Anite and other officials.
National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA–U) with the support of Uganda Investment Authority has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Engo Holdings Group to construct the factory and SIMI technologies to promote Local Electronics Manufacturing in Uganda.
According to the NITA–U Executive Director, James Saaka, the factory will assemble and manufacture computers, mobile phones and other related ICT equipment.
The collaboration seeks to promote and achieve; the manufacture of electronics, ICT equipment including computers and related products in Uganda; building of local capacity in assembling and equipping locals in electronic technology; training of individuals who will work on the manufacturing plant; and overall skills transfer.
During the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Saaka promised to provide fast and secure internet using ICT backbone for the factory upon its completion.
“As NITA-U we have developed numerous standards and guidelines which government and private entities must comply to when developing their IT systems. We have now moved to develop standards to guide the manufacture of electronics, ICT equipment including computers and related products. It is great progress that we are moving Uganda into this ICT equipment manufacturing space but we must move in tandem with the rest of the world in terms of standards and quality in order to be competitive,” Saaka said.
“The Plant will assembly and manufacture computers and other related equipment in Uganda. It will boast capacity in the country and we thank State minister for Investment and Uganda Investment Authority for convincing Engo holdings to invest in Uganda.”
State minister for Investment, Evelyn Anite applauded President Yoweri Museveni for setting a fertile ground for investors and promised to provide all the necessary support to Engo Holdings.
“We are excited to have second mobile manufacturing phone in Uganda and the first computer plant. For the first time, we shall not import these laptops from China etc but get them from here in Namanve. Having them manufactured here will reduce import bill and increase export bill since Engo Holdings will also export these products,” Anite said adding that this factory shall also produce solar powered phones.
She commended NITA-U for its flexibility and swiftness to partner with a foreign company to construct this state-of-art ICT plant.
“This plant has taken us a longtime to start because of the legal gymnastics. At first we wanted this foreign company to partner with UTL, but I was told that we have no locus to partner with UTL to promote this investment then I had to turn my attention to NITA-U and UIA who immediately bought the idea,” she said.
Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Frank Tumwebaze bashed government agencies for its bureaucratic tendencies, thus hampering infrastructural and investment progress.
“Government agencies keep worshiping the law at the expense of development. I thank NITA-U for not being bureaucratic. The law can’t tell you to walk slowly, it is to guide you. We welcome SIMI Mobile for coming to assembly and manufacture phones. We have sorted the hardware issue now let’s do software. It’s better to have our own laptop, designed and built from our own software,” Tumwebaze said.
He added that this ICT factory will help to operationalize Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) content, thus creating market and more jobs for Ugandans.
“Policy defines law and our policy is support local content. Therefore, we can have a directive so that all computers we take to schools are procured here,” he said.
Apparently, the construction of the ICT plant will take about 6months from today.