National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), the commercial arm of the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF), won the deal from the Uganda Free Zone Authority (UFZA) to construct the first Public Free Zone in Uganda.
The Shs48 billion facility will be set up on five acres of land that UFZA acquired from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) at the Entebbe International Airport.
The Government has already allocated Shs12.5 billion for the first phase of the project.
According to officials, the Free Zone will house seven production units and a Trade house that will host offices of UFZA, URA, and other government offices to facilitate smooth flow of business in the Zone.
According to the Chairman of UFZA Board of Directors Eng. Dr. Feredrick Kiwanuka, the project will cover sectors like food processing (agro-processing), mineral processing, warehousing, storage, simple assembly, etc.
“All operators in this Public Free Zone will process their products for onward export through Entebbe International Airport,” he said.
The UFZA Executive Director Hez Kimoomi Alinda said that the Free Zone is expected to create at least 240 direct jobs and significantly contribute to an increase in Uganda’s exports.
It will also directly contribute cargo volumes to recently revived Uganda Airlines thereby boosting its business as the company secures more routes.
UFZA is required to establish strategically located Public Free Zones equipped with all required infrastructure to afford operators ‘plug and play’ facilities to enable them seamlessly undertake the business of manufacturing, value addition of products for onward export without the hustle to develop their own Zones.
The UFZA Chairman urged NEC, the contractor and Oubuntu Consults Limited, the supervisor to fast track the completion of the works to pave way for the second phase of the Zone implementation.
The Authority is mandated to spearhead and oversee the establishment, development, management, marketing, maintenance, supervision and control of Free Zones and other related matters.
Free Zones are Customs controlled areas where raw materials, goods, plant and machinery may be landed, handled, manufactured or reconfigured for export without being subject to import and export duties.