Members of the Ubuntu Bafumbira United Association (UBUA) have been called upon to take advantage of proposed industrial park, which is set to be constructed in Kisoro district starting next year.
The Kisoro industrial park is one of 25 regional parks which government plans to set up in different parts of the country as part of it’s industrial expansion strategy.
Speaking Friday evening at the inauguration of the newly elected UBUA leadership, Robert Mukiza, the Director General Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) encouraged the association members with capacity, to start preparing for acquisition of land in the park to set up factories.
“Members of Ubuntu, you should now start thinking about becoming manufacturers, and how to go up the value chain of all our raw materials,” he said.
“If you put up a factory in Kisoro, you are looking at a market of over 30million people across the border in eastern DRC alone.”
The 620 acre park will be built in Kibaya just next to the Rwandan and DRC borders.
Mr Mukiza said this unencumbered and wetland-free land was acquired with ease thanks to the leadership of Kisoro district.
The Kisoro park, he said, will be one of the first 5 whose construction is planned to begin next year, with the feasibility studies expected to be completed in the next 6months.
Regarding insecurity along the DRC border, Mukiza revealed that the park will be fully fenced and secured by the UPDF which has agreed to set up an Industrial Park Protection Unit.
As such, he called on the UBUA members in the manufacturing sector to rush and get investment licenses from UIA, prepare their business plans with proof of financial capacity and apply for free land in the park.
Speaking on the panel on how to “harness investment opportunities in Kisoro District” city lawyer Edgar Tabaro of KTA Advocats said Ubuntu members and Kisoro people will need to fix their mindset first, in order to benefit from the industrial park.
“Our mindset has to change. We can build this park and then have the Turkish citizens, the Chinese and Indians come in and take this from us if we are not prepared,” he said.
Tabaro also called on government to target not just the DRC but also the Rwandan and Burundian markets with the park.
“If you can get your goods to the lake port of Bujumbura, then you have access to the entire Lake Tanganyika catchment area, from Kalemi, to Kigoma to Mpulungu port in Zambia. This whole area has no industry of their own because they haven’t yet developed capacity,” he said.
Juvenal Mubumuza, the Commissioner Development Assistance at the Ministry of Finance called on the association members to mobilize the locals in Kisoro through the new Parish Development Model in order to produce quality raw materials for the industrial park.
“If we organize these communities to produce the kinds of materials needed in the park, this will be a bonus on our side,” he said.
Besides the Industrial Park, UBUA members were urged to tap into the tourism potential of Kisoro district which has lagged behind.
“I find it sad that the hotel and service industry there is still lacking,” said UIA’s Mukiza.
“There is need to bring in heavy investment in the service industry”
At the event held at the Pearl of Africa Hotel in Kampala, the pioneer leadership of UBUA led by Richard Ndikuryayo handed over office to the new leadership which was elected earlier this week.
The new 17 member team is led by Chairman Hillary Bisanga, who is deputized by Mrs Ruth Mugisha.
City lawyer Alex Rezida and Innocent Habimana the group founder retained their positions as Patron and General Secretary respectively.
Speaking as chief guest at the inauguration, Judiciary Secretary Mr Pius Bigirimana lauded the association’s initiatives and promised register as a member himself.
“This is such a powerful association of very intelligent and rich people. I am motivated and I feel I should belong here,” he said.
He also called on the members to work tirelessly to develop their home area, adding; “ I don’t see any reason why a group of people like you who are young and energetic cannot transform your district.”
UBUA,which started in 2019 as a WhatsApp group has seen it’s subscription membership grow to 749 members today.
In his inaugural speech, the new chairman Bishanga applaud the commitment of the outgoing team.
He also pledged to “uphold the core value of the Association which is the spirit of unity, selflessness, voluntary service and mutual respect.”
“This association must remain a strong forum for Bafumbira to lobby for the growth of our community and to create a legacy for our youth.”