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Presidential CEO Forum 4th Bi-annual Private Sector CEO Retreat kicks off at Kiira Vehicle Plant in Jinja.
Jinja, Uganda — Wednesday 2nd August, 2023
Uganda’s Industry Captains alongside Heads of Government entities, through their prestigious Presidential CEO Forum (PCF), convened at the Kiira Motors Vehicle Plant in Jinja to discuss how best to shape Uganda’s Industrialisation Agenda, for inclusive sustainable socioeconomic transformation of the country.
The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero officiated at the opening of the two-day 4th Bi-annual CEO Retreat hosted by H.E. the President of Uganda under the theme “Uganda’s Industrialisation Agenda: Positioning Uganda as a net source of E-Mobility in Africa.” In her remarks, Hon. Dr. Musenero proudly highlighted Uganda’s history in E-Mobility, showcasing the country’s achievement as the first African nation to design and build an electric vehicle, the Kiira EV. She emphasized the vital role played by the private sector, exemplified by STI Secretariat’s relentless dedication to shaping the Mobility Industry.
To fully harness this potential, Dr. Musenero urged the implementation of a three-dimensional action plan, which includes; transition from the hand-to-mouth economy into the money economy; emphasizing value addition to local raw materials; and further developing the services sector and knowledge economy. The STI minister cautioned against hasty agreements that could hinder Uganda’s success in e-mobility, stressing the importance of thoughtful and strategic approaches to ensure a prosperous future in the electric mobility field.
While welcoming delegates, the PCF Vice Chairman Mr. Emmanuel Katongole noted that 18 out of 19 critical issues raised by the Private Sector in the past three forums have been actioned. Mr. Katongole applauded President Museveni for imposing a ban on exportation of raw materials, and putting in place requisite guiding policies on value addition.
The PCF Coordinator/CEO Ms. Irene Birungi Mugisha highlighted that this is first Regional CEO Retreat in the revitalized structure by the Presidential CEO Forum, and many others will happen across the country. Jinja, was chosen as the first host of these Regional Retreats because of its demonstrated capacity serving as Uganda’s industrial hub, with over 100 firms & manufacturing plants. “These PCF CEO Retreats aim to foster collaboration and mutual understanding between key stakeholders, which inevitably leads to meaningful progress and development across the country”, she said.
The first day of the 4th Bi-annual CEO Retreat, which is convened in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister, Science, Technology & Innovation Secretariat (STI-OP), National Planning Authority (NPA), Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE), Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI), and Kiira Motors Corporation, explored the theme through a spotlight presentation on prioritizing value chains in Uganda’s Industrial Agenda by Prof. Charles Kwesiga, Executive Director of UIRI who shared that, “the level of industrialization defines a country’s level of development, the quality of life of its population and its GDP per capita among others.”
A panel session further stressed how the Mobility sector, often termed the “Industry of Industries”, has opportunities to spur Industrial growth, featuring; Dr. Joseph Muvawala, PCF Board Member & NPA Executive Director, Mr. Mathias Katamba, PCF Board Member & Seasoned Banker, Mr. Zion Okama, Head Renewables at Total Energies Uganda, Mr. Kwame Rugunda, Chairman of Savannah Group, Ms. Shamim Matovu, CEO Discover Solutions, and Dr. Gerald Banaga-Baingi, Assistant Commissioner Technical Planning – Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
Dr. Muvawala revealed that NPA has undertaken manpower modelling to ascertain critical human resource needs for e-mobility and over 70 occupations have been identified for University Education and TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training). However, about 58 are currently unavailable or insufficient to support the Mobility sector. On financing remaining a critical challenge, Mr. Katamba called on the government to create an environment that allows more private sector investments in the sector, and for the private sector CEOs to intervene with long-term financing options, other than simply resolving to consider the Mobility sector unbankable.
Hon. Francis Mwebesa, Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives commended the CEOs for the candid discussions and committed that the proposed recommendations would be presented for adoption by H.E. the President, after which, there would be swift implementation in order to realize tangible results from Uganda’s Industrial aspirations.
The delegates agreed to fast track the following key emerging issues: need for a predictable public policy citing the recent removal of tax on imported EVs which contradicts the agenda of promoting local industries; implementing the Presidential Directive on reduction of electricity tariff to 5 cents for targeted companies; championing human capital development to support Industrialization; fixing value chain financing; mapping out specific assets of industrial value chains to allow for focused interventions; strengthening investment in Artificial Intelligence including education, enhancing the link between university research and private sector needs; and promoting quality standardization & dealing with substandard products.
The delegates of the 4th Bi-annual CEO Retreat were later in the evening treated to a Royal Cultural Networking Dinner hosted by His Royal Highness Kyabazinga of Busoga William Wilberforce Gabula Nadiope IV, attended by the Jinja City leadership and dignitaries from the Busoga Kingdom and Eastern Uganda.
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