President Museveni has ordered all Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to procure locally assembled cars.
Museveni issued an order on Friday evening at State House Nakasero while addressing the nation.
The President issued an order after the Director of Zhong Tong Bus Industries in Namanve, Metu Katabazi informed him that the Industry assembles vehicles especially buses and trucks, but Ugandans continue to import cars.
“Our Industry was established in 2018, and the reason it was established was to serve mankind. I looked at the situation of Uganda where from the 1960s, Uganda was importing complete bus units from a neighbouring country in East Africa, and we continue to import even today even though I have a factory in Namanve,” said Katabazi.
He added that he established the factory in order to fabricate buses for Uganda so that the country is self-sufficient in bus manufacturing and possibly also for neighbouring countries.
However, Katabazi told Museveni that Government Agencies have not supported his initiative, yet they should be at the forefront of implementation of Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) Policy.
He noted that a very few Government Agencies that include; National Medical Stores (NMS), Ministry of Health, Uganda Prisons Services, and Uganda Virus Research Institute have procured buses from Zhong Tong Bus Industries.
In 2018, Government banned the importation of vehicles older than 8 years, on grounds that used vehicles are expensive to maintain, and also the lead causers of pollution.
“Your Excellency, you banned the importation of complete buses from outside Uganda. And you did this in order to support our Industry. But we have been getting very few orders from Government because, as Government policy, we thought the government should be the first to support our industry,” Katabazi complained to the President.
Museveni based on Katabazi’s compliant to issue an order that all Government Departments must procure locally assembled cars from either Zhong Tong Bus Industries or the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) whose assembling plant was launched by President Museveni in Nakasongola last week on July 27.
“All Government Departments will buy either from Katabazi or from NEC,” Museveni ordered.
Metu Zhong Tong Bus Industries which is Uganda’s first bus assembly plant is hoped to cut down the cost of importing buses from outside the country.
The passenger buses are built by Metu Zhong Tong Bus industries in Namanve in partnership with Zhong Tong Company of China.
The company started in 2018, and in 2019, President Museveni officially opened the factory.
Katabazi said that Zhong Tong Bus Industries assemble buses that meet international standards.
“Now, we are fabricating buses to international standards. And to prove that, I one time fabricated buses for the Tata Corporation. And they accept that this is standard equivalent to what they do in India,” he said.
Katabazi also revealed that 50% of the materials used to assemble the buses are sourced from the local market.