The trade and cooperatives minister Amelia Kyambadde confirms securing Euro.2M for the construction of seven free border export zones with construction slated to start in October 2020.
The Free border export zones which are to help Uganda harmonize regional markets will also facilitate the increase in export earnings, value addition, provide employment promote investment through public private partnerships among others.
The minister further notes that the euros 2M are a grant from the European Union and its meant to be utilized within a given period without failure.
Each of the seven border export zones will cost minimum of UGX.400M.
Between 2014-2019 the Ministry using funds (EUR 1.26m) under the Regional Integration Implementation Project (RIIP) supported by COMESA conducted environmental impact assessments, and developed master plans, architectural designs, BOQs and construction tender documents for Katuna, Lwakhakha, Busia, Oraba, Elegu, Kikagate.
In the Second Phase of the RIIP Project which started in 2018, BEZ is allocated EUR 1.7 million to develop start up facilities on each of the BEZ sites as prioritized by the districts. Consequently, the Ministry finalised procurement of contractors to construct
venture facilities at each site to attract more public private investments to the sites.
In the last three weeks of August 2020, I have launched the construction of investment venture facilities at
a. Lwakhakha- a central market and related facilities
b. Busia,- aware house and related facilities
c. Oraba- a commercial building and extension of electricity and other related facilities
d. Katuna- a ware house and related facilities
These facilities will be ready for use by close of this year.
In addition, Government has secured USD $2 million from the World Bank under the Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Project (GLTFP) for the development Mpondwe BEZ (Kasese District) and preparation of feasibility studies for Bunagana BEZ (Kisoro District). The procurement process for the development of Mpondwe BEZ is ongoing and construction will commence in October 2020.
Full scale development of the all the 18 sites is scheduled for the period 2021/22 to 2029/30 in line with the Project Proposal
currently before the Development Committee of the Ministry of Finance.
The BEZ program is key to positioning Uganda’s exports into the region and driving the development goals of the country including import substitution and wealth creation. The relevancy of the project has become even more paramount at the outbreak of COVID19 Pandemic. BEZ provides opportunities to continue trading regionally amidst COVID19 measures. The storage and warehousing facilities to be established in the BEZs will facilitate and ease movement of goods across the borders.
I implore the business community to invest in the Border Export Zones and take advantage of the facilities Government is putting in place.