BY MOSES SSERWANGA
The new Minister of Science Technology and Innovation, Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero has made her maiden tour of the multi-million Kiira Vehicle Plant which will be completed at the end of the year with -Kiira Motors set to produce 1,030 for the Tondeka Mass Bus Transit System in Kampala.
Dr. Musenero was received at the Kiira Vehicle Plant (KVP) by the company’s Executive Chairman , Prof. Sandy Stevens Tickodri- Togboa , the CEO , Mr. Paul Isaac Musasizi and Lieutenant General, James Mugira the Managing Director, and the Chief Executive Officer of the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), the business arm of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces.
Kiira Vehicle Plant has been constructed by the UPDF engineering brigade under NEC and will be the largest in the East and Central Africa with a capacity to produce 22 buses per day and 5,000 a year .
While underscoring the growing demand for vehicles on the African continent , Dr. Musenero who promised to be a ‘technical minister’ called upon Ugandans to be ready- to benefit from the huge economic opportunities- available in the development of Uganda’s nascent automotive industry- which has been championed by President Museveni for over two decades now.
“The motor vehicle market is growing steadily with regional vehicle sales anticipated to reach over 630,000 vehicles annually for EAC and 10 million vehicles annually on the African Continent by 2030,” Dr. Musenero stated adding that the growing demand for vehicles remained an untapped opportunity for domestic industrialization .
Dr.Musenero explained that government under the visionary leadership of President Yoweri Museveni has taken definitive steps towards building the Indigenous Motor Vehicle Industry in Uganda that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs along the automotive industry value chain .
Prof. Tickodri said that by building the Uganda’s Motor Vehicle Industry -an unprecedented opportunity was being created to promote value addition -to Uganda’s mineral and other natural resources to ensure import substitution and export promotion of vehicles, parts, components and systems.
Eng. Hilary Obaloker Onek, Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees – the Patron of the Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers expressed happiness that many Ugandan engineers and other technical professionals were playing a leading role in the design, construction and operation of the Kiira Vehicle Plant thereby creating local capacity which is very much needed for government’s Buy Uganda ,Build Uganda (BUBU) policy.
Gen. James Mugira, said the Kiira Vehicle Plant will go a longway to validate the UPDF’s capacity and technical ability to deliver world class facilities . He asked government to released all the needed funds to complete the plant before the end of the year .
Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) is currently utilizing the facilities and resources at NEC’s facility in Nakasongola, build another two Kayoola fully electric buses and one Kayoola Diesel Coach which will bring the company’s locally made buses six.
Kiira Motors entering the market
The company is working with Tondeka Metro, Rent Co Africa and Golden Dragon as the Technology Partner to produce 30,000 Buses including fully electric ones -at the Kiira Vehicle Plant over a period of 10 years . The KVP will produce and deploy 1,030 buses by mid-2022, 50 of which will be electric. The buses will be sold regionally and 65% of parts and components are to be produced locally by 2030.
“The initiative is aimed at Modernizing Public Transport in the Urban Centers in Uganda and beyond, while building the Indigenous Motor Vehicle Industry through Technology Transfer and Supply Chain Localization,” the companies involved in this local joint venture announced early this year .
The Mass Transit Bus System (MTBS) will operate in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area within the radius of 25-30km along gazette routes and is estimated to move approximately 600,000 people per day while adhering to the Ministry of Health guidelines on COVID-19 and 1,500,000 people per day on a business-as-usual scenario.
Payments for tickets will be made through an end-to-end cashless ticketing system integrated with Mobile Money (Airtel Money, MTN Mobile Money and Afri-money), Visa, Mastercard and Union Pay.
The Mass Transit Bus System is expected to improve passenger boarding and alighting times and reduce overall waiting and travel times to between 30 minutes to one hour on each trip as compared to the current taxi system travel/waiting time of over 1.3 hours while also reducing annual expenditure off individual disposable incomes on transportation within GKMA by up to 80%.
There will be improved revenue collection for taxi operators at the first and last mile through the Tondeka Taxi Owners Feeder Road Scheme that will enable integration into the Tondeka Cashless Ticketing and Payment System for a seamless commuter experience.
Building the Indigenous Motor Vehicle Industry is projected to create over 100,000 jobs directly and indirectly in the medium term including but not limited to engineers, IT specialists, planners, welders, painters, designers, architects, lawyers, financial analysts, accountants, economists, logistics and supply chain practitioners, auditors, human resources personnel, sales executives, marketers, machine operators, drivers, stewards and cleaners.
Tondeka joining other Kiira Motors Clients and Stakeholders to develop Uganda’s Automotive Industry
Other stakeholder present included a team of Tondeka Executives led by their Chairman , Dr. Peter Kibowa who said that-the company will be Kiira Motors ‘ first client – in fulfillment of what President Museveni directed them – to do -that’s to use the private sector financing mechanism- to put in place a modern mass transport system in Kampala.
Other stakeholders were -8M Forum which was represented by Eng. Darlington Sakwa, a leading ICT specialist and consultant; Mr. Stuart Jason Mwesigwa, the Chief Commercial Manager of Roofings Ltd.; Total, Absa Bank, DFCU Bank , MTN and Airtel , Hardware World among others .