On Tuesday, May 7, 2019 H. E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni launched the construction of the MMP Industrial Park in Buikwe District.
The industrial park, which sits on 813 acres of land, is located in Buwampa, on the shores of Lake Victoria, and is the brainchild of Magan Patel, the head of Nile Group of Companies.
The 26 companies that will operate in the industrial park are, amongst others, Nile Agro Ltd., Nile Aluminum Ltd., Nile Batteries Ltd., Nile Wheat Ltd., Auro Meera Paper Ltd., Modern Distillers Ltd., Modern Laminates Ltd., Nile GM Plastics Ltd., and Modern Rubber and Cable Ltd.
Others are Mayuge Sugar Ltd., Kamuli Sugar Ltd., G. M. Sugar Ltd., Modern Allied and Footwear Ltd., Modern Heavy Engineering Ltd., H. K. Industries Ltd., Bushenyi Cotton, C. N. Cotton Ltd., Lukonge Ginnery, Modern Textiles Ltd., and Nile Transformers Ltd.
Francis Baganzi, the Nile Group Corporate Manager, said they started out in 2000 as a small company dealing in soap, oil and wheat flour, and have now grown into a big company promoting 26 companies. He said the Nile Group employs 12,000 people directly and 50,000 indirectly.
Magan Patel, in a speech read on his behalf by his son Patel Jr, said when he first visited Uganda in 1996 he fell in love and on return to India he mobilized like-minded individuals to set shop, especially in agro-processing because, as he put it, “Uganda has huge agricultural resources and investor-friendly policies”.
As an example of Uganda’s rich resources, Patel said Uganda has good quality cotton and this has enabled them to set up 10 cotton ginneries, adding that through their Modern Textiles factory they aim to produce materials for school uniforms and other uses at 50 percent of the current cost.
Patel said through their Auro Meera Paper factory they aim to reverse the state of Uganda being a net importer of paper products to a net exporter of paper products to the region and world. He said prices of books will be reduced by 50 percent.
On footwear, Patel said their factory will also produce various types of shoes at 50 percent of the current costs.
Patel said the 50-percent cost reduction of school uniforms, shoes and books is their contribution towards education in Uganda.
According to Patel, the Nile Group is also going to produce lorry tyres, starch, pharmaceuticals, pre-fabricated materials for houses (to reduce the housing deficit), agro implements, amongst other essential products.
He said they believe in the principle of “live and let live”, revealing that as part of their corporate social responsibility they will build 50 boreholes per year in the area.
Patel said they are setting up a pharmaceutical industrial park and requested the President to support the move with some incentives.
In his response, the President Museveni thanked Patel and his partners for investing in Uganda.
“I would like to thank Magan (Patel) and his partners for coming to Uganda to help us develop our country but also for having good spectacles,” said Museveni, adding that “they know that in Africa Uganda is in the centre, is peaceful and we’ve rich resources”.
The President said by choosing Uganda the Nile Group is well positioned to access a bigger market in East Africa, Central and Southern Africa and the whole of Africa.
“I congratulate you because you’re far-sighted, you’re good partners, you know what you’re doing,” said the President.
On incentives, President Museveni said Nile Group will benefit from all incentives like companies operating in industrial parks, adding that the focus of the government is not on direct taxation but indirect taxation.
On the pharmaceuticals park, President Museveni promised that Nile Group will be given land because, as he put it, “we want drugs made here”.
On the paper factory, the President pledged government support, noting that bamboo growing needs to be supported in order to ensure steady supply of raw materials for the paper factory.
The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija, said “as far as the economy is concerned it is moving up”.
The State Minister of Finance (Investment and Privatisation), Evelyn Anite, said Uganda is experiencing fundamental change and is on the right industrial and transformative path, adding that “Uganda is no longer a big supermarket for others”.
Earlier, the President commissioned 10 factories, worth 200 million dollars, in Buikwe and Jinja districts, all belonging to Nile Group.
The Nile Group or Magan Patel Model is testimony that even without direct government support like incentives Uganda’s friendly and supportive investment policies are adequate for investors to take off and contribute to economic growth and development.
In the case of Nile Group, they have asked for the incentives after already doing so much on their own, like creating 26 companies and building a private industrial park.
Uganda Investment Authority was represented by the acting Director-General, Lawrence Byensi, and the Director for Investment Promotion and Development, Sheila Karungi.