By Moses Paul Sserwanga
A 13-member Board of Directors for Uganda’s Automotive Industry flagship Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) has been inaugurated in Kampala by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye.
The Kiira Motors Board of Directors comprises eminent Ugandans who have excelled in different fields of expertise and they include, Prof. Sandy Stevens Tickodri, the executive chairman; David Omara Oleke Obong, permanent secretary MoSTI; Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, vice-chancellor of Makerere University; Yusuf Kiranda, Ag. Makerere University Secretary; Paul Isaac Musasizi, CEO KMC.
Others are Basil Ajer, director at MoSTI; Ronald Rwankangi, Rev. Sister Mary Grace Akiror, Aisha Naiga, Eng. Henry Alinaitwe, Christine Sekyana, Yudaya Babirye and Dr. Charles Barugahare.
“I commission you to be the champions of building of an indigenous motor vehicle industry in Uganda while ensuring that you collectively direct the company's affairs while meeting the interests of the shareholders and other key stakeholders,” Dr. Tumwesigye said.
The minister asserted that the new board the first to be appointed for Automotive Industry Captains Kiira Motors has a duty to ensure that the company’s innovations and products are turned into a viable business that will lead to import substitution, create jobs and wealth for millions of Ugandans across the automotive industry value chain."
“We look forward to seeing Ugandan made vehicles driven across the African continent and elsewhere in the world and have Kiira Motors listed on the stock exchange,” Dr. Tumwesigye stated while appreciating the visionary leadership of President Yoweri Museveni who has given enormous support to Uganda’s scientists, innovators and Kiira Motors in particular.
Dr. Tumwesigye added; “The opportunities to commercialize the innovations at Kiira Motors Corporation have never been brighter than now. These opportunities include- the recent directive by President Museveni to stop the importation of buses.”
Other opportunities are the African Development Bank-supported project implemented by KCCA that among others seeks to produce 50 Eco- Buses (Electric Buses) which KMC can provide, the proposal for KMC to manufacture 1,030 buses (980 diesel and 50 electric) for the TDB (PTA Bank) supported Tondeka Metro Mass Transit Bus service for Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area.
This project has an additional prospect of a long-term technology transfer and supply chain localization partnership with the Chinese Company Golden Dragon for commercial production of 30,000 buses targeting the regional market and reaching 65% auto parts localization by 2030.
Dr. Tumwesigye commended the Kiira Motors Executive Chairman, Prof. Tickodri-Togboa and CEO Musasizi who have led a brave and committed team of innovators who have tirelessly worked to transform the company‘s revolutionary innovations and ideas into commercial products.
Kiira Motors' fully electric buses (the Kayoola EVS and the Kayoola Diesel Coach) are now deployed to offer shuttle services for the staff of the Civil Aviation Authority.
Kiira Motors which is championing green mobility technologies in Africa has developed, produced and deployed fully electric buses -the first of a kind in East and Central Africa.
Dr. Tumwesigye told the new board members that Kiira Motors Corporation is a state enterprise established to champion value addition in the nascent Motor Vehicle Industry in Uganda through Technology Transfer, Contract Manufacturing and Supply Chain Localization.
The Shareholders of Kiira Motors Corporation are the government of Uganda represented by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation with 96% shareholding and Makerere University which has 4% shares.
Company executives at KMC welcomed the board members who were approved by Cabinet and said that building the Indigenous Motor Vehicle Industry is consistent with Uganda’s aspirations and pathways to Vision 2040 which is articulated in the National Development Plan III and the NRM Manifesto 2021 – 2026.
The National Development Plan III allows for the promotion of local manufacturing of motor vehicles, establishment of an efficient, integrated, sustainable, safe, and inclusive public transport system and promotion of environmentally friendly transport solutions.
Kiira Motors Corporation is currently leveraging government support and goodwill to cement its position as a commercial vehicle Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and pioneers of electric mobility in the East African region and the African content.
Speaking at the same occasion, Obong stated: "I am confident that the new board is ready to take on the challenges ahead of the commercialization journey for Kiira Motors Corporation. More so, having evolved from staff and students’ extra-curricula activity at Makerere University, into a national program championing Value Addition in the Domestic Automotive Industry for job creation and diversification of the economy in line with NDP III and Vision 2040.”
Prof. Tickodri thanked the top leadership at the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation led by Dr. Tumwesigye and PS Obong for their technical support and guidance in establishing a solid governance structure at Kiira Motors.
He said the Board's priorities will be guided by the strategic objectives for Kiira Motors Corporation which are to develop, make and sell Motor Vehicles & Vehicle Components for the African market, provide design, software development, engineering and testing services to the Global Automotive Industry and Adjacent Industries (Electronics, Aerospace, Agriculture, Medical Devices, Construction etc.).
Other components of Mission Vehicles Made in Uganda ,will include the support for the establishment of efficient, integrated, safe and inclusive public transport systems; advance development and adoption of Connected, Autonomous, Shared, and Electric (CASE) vehicle technology in line with the automotive industry current and future trends; localize the Automotive Industry Supply Chain for domestic value addition; and provide policy advisory and advocacy for developing a sustainable business environment for building the indigenous motor vehicle industry in Uganda
The writer is a Media and Communications Consultant and Advocate of the High Court of Uganda .