By David Muwanga

Kampala, UGANDA: Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) has been hailed by the State Minister for Finance in charge of Privatization Evelyn Anite for fastracking the availability of land meant for investors.

“I would like to thank the UIA for availing land in two days to Engo Holdings Limited, Uganda’s first mobile phone and laptop assembly plant in Namanve Industrial Park, Mukono district.”

She said this at the commissioning of ENGO Holdings Limited that plans to produce 2,000 mobile phones, 1,500 Smart phones and 800 mini slim laptops per day when it starts operating at full capacity in 2021.

The company is to assemble products under the brand name of SIMI Mobile.

She explained that that Uganda has been spending Sh140bn on the importation of phones from major electronic companies, Samsun, Itel, Huawei and Nokia among others.

“The factory will in the long run reduce the import bill by producing cheap phones for the country,”.

The company that has started with three assembly lines and employing 100 Ugandans was commissioned by President Yoweri Museveni and will assemble 500 pieces of 2G Analog Phones fitted with blue tooth, Camera and a Low Emission Diode bulbs or torch and branded Made in Uganda.

The phone models with dual SIM slots and a Memory card will collectively be known as S300 powered 1,400mAh capacity battery. They are enabled with JAVA for playing MP3/MP4 Audio-Visual files. They receive telecommunications signal using 2GSM and GPRS operating on two bandwidths in the range of 850 -1900.

President Museveni said that the Chinese have been Africa’s development partners since 1947.

“They have supported Africa and Uganda in particular in infrastructure development which are critical in the transformation of the economy,”.

Ares Chow Yu Qing, the Executive Director of ENGO Holdings Limited says that the factory will in the future produce 2,000 chargers, 4,000 USB cables and 4,000 ear phones in the third phase of the development of the factory in October 2021.

He added that the that the company is investing $15m (which is about Sh55.6 Billion Shillings over the next five years to achieve optimal output from the initial one million electronic gadgets a year.  Most of the parts currently being assembled were imported from China including mainboards, the 2.4 Inch screen, touch panels, battery, Cameras, speaker receivers and vibrators.

Arnold Mangeni, the Director of Information Security at the National Information Technology Authority (NITA) pointed out that the phones meet national and international standards for radiation emissions and safety standards.

Minister for Information, Communication and Technology Frank Tumwebaze, commended the investors saying the project will revolutionize mobile phones connectivity in rural areas for their affordability and efficiency on power consumption and network reception and clarity.“ The development will also provide a unique platform for domestic software developers to showcase their innovations to the market in order to penetrate the International markets through exportation of some of the technologies,” he noted.

Executive Director of the National Information Technology Authority –NITA James Ssaka, the added that Uganda’s ICT Sector has dramatically grown over the last ten years with its annual budget swelling from 104 Billion in 2018 to 146 Billion in 2019. According to NITA, there are 22 Million mobile phone subscribers in Uganda. It says the sector is growing at 27 per cent per annum.