By Uganda Online Media
Kampala: The minister of state for Investment and Privatisation, Evelyn Anite has revealed that the government has withdrawn land that was allocated to five investors in the Namanve Industrial Park after they failed to utilize the land for over ten years.
Anite noted that the investors were penalized after it was confirmed that they had held onto land for over ten years without any development contrary to the regulations set by Uganda Investment Authority.
”We are withdrawing land from investors who have failed to develop it and giving it to investors who want to set up industries. They will be given a chance when they are ready. The land is a scarce resource and we have to put it to good use,” said Anite.
According to Anite, 387 acres of land in several industrial parks will be taken back by the government after some of these investors failed to utilize the land. Some of this land is located in Luzira, Masindi and Namanve industrial parks.
She warned investors who are not serious that any future repossession will come with heavy penalties.
“This is not the first time we are withdrawing land from those non serious investors. We have withdrawn the land from these quack investors before and we didn’t issue any penalty but this time it will come with a cost because you have to recover the money the government is spending” Anite warned.
Anite further noted that the government has decided that if an investor is given land in an industrial park and they develop it to up to 30% (domestic) and 70% (foreign) one can mortgage his or her interest in it.
UIA board chairman, Morrison Rwakakamba said they want to see more domestic investors and this can be an individual, a savings and credit cooperative, an investment club, or a group of individuals among others.
“UIA with guidance from President Museveni is laser-focused development of industrial parks. We don’t want open spaces but industries. We want to accelerate domestic investment, ”said Rwakakamba on the withdrawal of undeveloped land in industrial parks.
The director-general, Uganda Investment Authority, Robert Mukiza said they are taking industrial parks to the regions and they want more Ugandans to invest and own industries.
“You have someone who has held 76 acres of land for ten years doing nothing. How can we get 500 factories if someone sits on 100 acres? He or she is supposed to have created 200 jobs, he or she is supposed to have built an oil factory but is doing nothing. So we are withdrawing the land,” he said.
The affected firms include;
Surgipharm, which was allocated 3 acres in 2007 for the purposes of investment in a warehousing project. The lease was canceled and the land is withdrawn in 2020. This land was reallocated to Allied Graphic systems in 2020 and the company intends to invest 4 million USD and employ 148 people.
Tirupati Developers Uganda Limited was allocated 8 acres in Namanve in 2009 to develop warehouses and invest over 9 million USD. During that whole period of over 10 years, they only built warehouses on 2 acres and rented them out contrary to the lease agreement plans. In October 2021, 6 acres were withdrawn and reallocated to a company that intends to invest 20 million USD and employ 590 people.
Zamburi Holdings, which planned to invest about 1 million USD, was offered 0.5 square miles of land in 2020 for purposes of mixed farming. To date, they have only dug a valley dam, erected temporary fencing, and had about 40 heads of cattle. This land was withdrawn in 2021 and reallocated to an investor who will invest 2 million USD and employ 850 people.
Divine Oils were allocated 8 acres for the purposes of setting up a lubricant and oil blending Plant in 2018. They held this land for 3 years and failed to invest as per the lease agreement tenets and the land was withdrawn in 2020.
It was reallocated to Mungufeni who plans to invest 6.9 million USD and employ 87 people and Engineers Investments which will invest about 2 million and employ 43 people.
Mariana Agencies Limited was allocated 76 acres in Namanve to establish a Soap and Vegetable oil plant or factory in 2014. During the 8year period, the investor has only backfilled a portion and no factory was built within the 5year timeline given.
UIA withdrew 50 acres to allocate to other serious investors and to be used for the infrastructure development in the park.
All these investors have run to Court, a decision Anite says has cost many Ugandans their jobs.
“What we have, unfortunately, seen as we manage this land is that, there are a number of investors who are unable to execute their projects and the land sits idly for long periods of time. As a result, we have withdrawn and reallocated this land. Some of these investors have opted to take legal action to stop or change the reallocation process which has a ripple effect on our level of production as a country, the number of jobs being created and on the overall health of our economy,” Anite added.