Uganda’s first public free special economic zone, located at the Entebbe international airport, will be ready for use in the next six months, the executive director, Hez Kimoomi Alinda has said.
Alinda said three of the four production units will be ready by October, along with the one-stop three-storied administration building, expected to house all the trade facilitation agencies.
He said the sh47b facility is expected to greatly facilitate international trade, as Uganda looks to increase her export receipts and narrow the trade deficit as well.
Alinda said the facility will have four production units, housing seven industries, mainly dealing in a gold refinery, bulking, light manufacturing, branding, packaging, and processing.
He said since Uganda is predominantly agricultural, the facility will also have cold storage to facilitate the export of products such as flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
“If we had all the money, we would have the entire facility up and running, but for now, we hall have the three units and the administration building, and the rest will come in the next phase, planned for next financial year,” he said, during a visit of the state ministers of trade, corporations, and finance, at the free zone in Entebbe on Friday.
He said once complete, the facility is expected to rake in about $4m (sh56.56b) in government revenue each year, for 12 to 15 years, with an aggregated investment portfolio of more than $1.5b (sh5.302 trillion).
It is also expected to generate more than 500,000 direct and indirect jobs and contribute approximately 10% of the country’s total exports.
The state minister for trade, Harriet Ntabazi, said the facility will support the country’s export drive, create jobs, and scale production, through value addition, which speaks to the NRM agenda of industrialization and poverty eradication.
She said the facility would also promote innovation, and competition and therefore drive enhancement of quality for Ugandan goods.
“Let us, therefore, support this and many other such projects to get our people out of poverty, but also to reduce our trade deficit.” she said.