Plans for the manufacturing of buses in Uganda to make transportation easy have been hanging in the air for years now.
According to the president, Museveni, the idea behind Uganda manufacturing its own buses including trains is to avoid people congesting in a place and causing public nuisance.
Availability of more buses and trains to move around means people can be conveyed from one destination to another freely.
What seems to be the problem is that rather than support the idea of assembling and manufacturing buses in Uganda, some government officials want importation via loans.
In an attempt to see to the issue, the president invited Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and METU, the bus industries assigned to finalized plans for manufacturing of the buses, along with other stakeholders including the Vice President, H.E Jessica Alupo; Minister for General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister, Kasule Lumumba; the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija; Minister for Investment, Evelyn Anite; and the Minister for Kampala, Misi Kabanda.
Museveni said, during the meeting:
“I handed this matter to the Ministry of Finance, Attorney General’s office….nothing moved. I hear some people asked for bribes.
Later I heard that people from Finance wanted loans from Africa Development Bank but condition was that we import buses.
How can we import buses? I have called you here to finish this today,”
According to Matia Kasaijja, the Minister of Finance, the project was delayed as a result of waiting for KCCA to improve road standards. They fear buses applying narrow roads may lead to accidents:
“Projects go hand in hand. We had to work on the roads and widen them for the buses to open. If roads are too narrow, it may cause inconveniences and cause accidents.
I also wrote to the bank to inform them that the US$12million that was meant for importing buses should be added on the roads,”
Upon disclosing this information, Museveni rejected the idea for collecting loans to import buses as well as focusing on the roads and not the manufacturing.
“What I will not accept are contracts that make you import buses. There is no way somebody can tell me that peripheral roads more important than factories.
How can a planner equate productive capacity with a road especially manufacture of automobiles,”.
However, KCCA and METU, legally bound by MoU agreement, gave their words that things would take shape for good.
By Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.