Kiira Motors Corporation says it will deliver 10 buses by end of this year, a paltry one percent of the more than 1,000 buses the state-owned corporation had promised.
The 10 buses, Allan Muhumuza, the Director of Marketing and Sales at Kiira Motors says will be delivered to Tondeka Metro and RentCo Africa who made the orders.
“The 10 buses will be delivered this year towards modernization of public transport in our city,” Muhumuza told Uganda Radio Network in an interview.
“This order is purely private sector led through partnership with Tondeka Metro and RentCo Africa,” he added.
The state enterprise had hoped to supply 1,050 for public transport in Kampala. And President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni banned importation of buses last year with hopes that Kiira Motors would take over the market.
However, Museveni last month offered the deal of assembling buses for public transport to Metu Bus Africa, an indegenous company that has also ventured into the business of assembling buses and coaches. Metu buses will be deployed in greater Kampala Metropolitan Area. Metu officials were unavailable to discuss when buses will be delivered.
Metu and Kiira Motors will not be working together, Muhumuza told URN. “Kiira Motors Corporation and Metu are two completely different entities with different product offerings,” he said.
Muhumuza also dismissed questions that the state enterprise won’t have a big market with Metu taking a deal to supply buses for Kampala. “There is enough room for all of us to thrive together and build a better Uganda through automotive technology,” he added.
Muhumuza said with a market within the East Africa Community of over 600,000 vehicles by 2030, there is enough room for even more players to come on board.
“We welcome them because that’s how we shall build the indigenous motor vehicle industry through supply chain localization,” added Muhumuza.
Kiira Motors plan had been that its Kiira Vehicle Plant in Jinja would be completed by the end of July (last month) with assembly of buses starting immediately after. The plant has not been completed. Its completion schedule has been pushed to the end of this year.
Lt. Gen. James Mugira, the Managing Director National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) which is undertaking the construction of the plant last week said work has slowed down because of delayed government funding. Government has only released 80billion shillings out of the 143 billion shilling approved by the cabinet in 2018.
Kiira Motors already has three buses (one electric and two diesel) working, which were developed through technology transfer with CHTC China High Tech Corporation.
According to Kiira Motors, the buses were built with support from National Enterprise Corporation through its subsidiary, Luweero Industries Limited. It is where more buses to be supplied to Tondeka by end of this year are being assembled.
The state enterprise’s long plan is to produce 30,000 buses for the regional market with 65 percent of parts and components localized by 2030. These buses will be supplied to Tondeka Metro, RentCo and Golden Dragon, the company says.