Kiira Motors’ new drive to assemble electric buses in Uganda would persuade anyone tired of the congestion of traffic in Kampala city and its neighborhood. Beautiful ideas they have, until one reads between the lines.
Kiira say they want to manufacture buses here in Uganda – which would create jobs and pay taxes to the government – among other benefits. If you want to understand how noble these ideas are, follow the money this company has swallowed since its inception and how much they still want from government.
Word has it that Kiira Motors aren’t interested in competing with anyone. They want a monopoly over routes which speaks volumes. With a Uganda that liberalized its economy, it’s difficult for the government to feed only one of its children at the expense of others. Let alone a company with no record of making a vehicle that stands the test of time.
Kiira Motors’ promoters are trying to meet President Museveni to ask him to ring fence the transport sector. And lock out everyone else. This is an unfair business or corporate practice. However, right thinking Ugandans need to assess Kiira claims or they want us to wait forever before buses become useful for the Kampala resident or guest who needs transport today.
I am therefore disappointed that Kiira say one thing and do something else.
Apparently, Kiira Motors’ want Shs74.5 billion to manufacture sample buses. These will be some of the buses used to make demands including advising the President not to entertain other players in the same industry. The other demand is that Kiira motors will be a sole distributor of busses into the country.
This one is ridiculous.
But again, Kiira are pushing for the deal to have government budget and not buy buses using borrowed money like from Africa Development Bank. Let alone having KCCA and the Works and Transport work with Kiira Motors, give them a licence route to operate the two pilot buses.
This is where I disagree with Kiira;
When it comes to transport in Uganda, there’s no room for trying out any untested hands. We have seen mistakes made with Uganda Transport Company (UTC), Pioneer buses, Awakula ennume among others, it seems they heard and learned nothing.
Kiira Motors needs to be put on spot. This hoodwinking of the public must stop. For the last decade Kiira changed its goal posts many times and one wonders if they’re not asking to make Uganda Airlines planes next, if they spotted any money. Never mind all these good people have done over the years is develop their prototype marketed as cars but none is on Uganda roads.
University students under Prof. Sandy Stevens Tickodri-Togboa need to be realistic and follow market forces to shape their business acumen.
Their highly billed car has never been commercialised for over a decade and they’re asking for a bigger cake. Their vehicle has gone through one form to the other yet until today when we are talking about the electricity charged buses on the streets of Kampala, we absolutely have no infrastructure needed to achieve their objective which would take us more than 5 years before we see Kiira bus ferrying people in the city, commercially and not for selfie purposes.
Meanwhile, the government, donors etc have pumped billions of money in this project which seems to be massive hole swallowing everything put before it.
They have received land in Jinja which they say is where they’ll assemble their car dreams but actually, they know their story is a White Elephant and will continue showing prototypes like they have done years.
The amount of money, Shs74billion that Kiira Motors is asking for would do a lot to fix the traffic nightmare that needs to be solved yesterday. Otherwise it will go down to the drain just as the billions that have gone into their pilot projects.
In 12 years of their pursuit for a Uganda made car, at least they would have put a bicycle or boda boda on the streets of Kampala. For now, nothing.
Instead they pick on different excuses for their failure to go commercial.
Actually, an audit should be done on this company which actually committed government as a partner, to account for the money they’ve received over the years.
Meanwhile, other competitive firms should come in and start offering transport services. If Kiira is serious, they’ll join this competition later when they’ve come of age.
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