- Kiira Motors is an award-winning technology innovator in Uganda’s automotive industry and this is well documented
- Kiira Motors management has over the years, in its pursuit to be funded, made several high-profile presentations to Parliament, Ministry of Finance and even cabinet
- The initial funding to Kiira Motors of about 15bn out of the 24 bn budgeted for this financial year was made after cabinet studied the Kiira Motors business case and approved it with the support of parliament
By Moses Sserwanga
The Observer newspaper has this week reported that some MPs are not satisfied with the performance of Kiira Motors hardly six months into the financial year. These same MPs are also fast-tracking their weird ideas of cutting funding to Kiira Motors a government owned company that is setting up a car production plant at the Jinja industrial park and give the money to an obscure private company called Bakayira.
The debate about Kiira Motors vs Bakayira is now gaining momentum as a section of MPs for self-interests are engaged in machinations to strip Kiira Motors of its funding in an effort to promote a private company whose viability in the automotive sector has not been documented anywhere.
The MPs’ strategy is to divide the 44bn asked for by Kiira Motors in the next financial year and give it to Bakayira where it can easily be misappropriated. But remember that it has taken Kiira Motors well over 10 years to prove its competences and capabilities in order to attract this initial Uganda government funding of Shs. 15bn out of the 24bn for the development /production phase of this project the current financial year and another 44bn for the next financial year .
Kiira Motors has deployed these funds to set up a vehicles production plant at the Jinja Industrial Park. The construction work which began barely two months ago, is being carried out by the UPDF Engineering brigade under the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) – the business arm of the army headed by an impeccable lawyer Lt. Gen. James Mugira. Before government agreed to fund the Kiira Motors development/production phase, the company had to make a detailed business case to prove the commercial and business viability of the mission to make cars in Uganda while championing the green mobility technologies (electric cars).
“Kiira Motors management has over the years, in its pursuit to be funded, made several high-profile presentations to Parliament, Ministry of Finance and even cabinet. The initial funding to Kiira Motors of about 15bn out of the 24 bn budgeted for this financial year was made after cabinet studied the Kiira Motors business case and approved it with the support of parliament.”
The company has not only made a viable case for the mission cars made in Uganda but has also tested and proved its competencies, capabilities in technological innovations by producing three electric vehicles; the Kiira Ev, the Kayoola Solar bus, and the Kiira EVS also known as “The Beast”. Kiira Motors is the Pioneer of green mobility technologies in the automotive industry not only in Uganda, the East African region but the African continent.
One of the cars made by Kiira EV.
It is bizarre therefore, that hardly six months after the initial release of funds for the development and production phase of this national project of strategic importance, some Members of Parliament want to sabotage it even before it gets off the ground. These MPs must be stopped in their tracks.
Politics and self-interest should not be promoted at the expense of national projects of strategic nature. The Kiira Motors project if well-funded and well managed will bring enormous economic opportunities in the fields of technology innovation, the job market, value addition and foreign exchange earnings.
And this is not to say that Bakayira shouldn’t be funded but their funding should not come from the Kiira Motors vote. Let them prepare and submit a viable proposal to government for approval be funded on merit.
Otherwise, Kiira Motors needs the support of every Ugandan. Let government fund this project until it can sustain itself and the business case shows that will break even.
The writer is a Media and Communications Consultant/ trainer and Advocate of the High Court of Uganda.