11 Firms Apply to Invest in Makerere University

As Makerere University moves to shore up its finances, 11 companies last week presented their investment proposals at a conference convened at Hotel Africana.

Four of the companies are Ugandan, two Chinese, two American and some are from South Africa, Kenya, Hong Kong and the UK. Convened by the Makerere Holdings Company, the conference got proposals for construction of a hotel and convention centre at Makerere University guesthouse as well as develop the land at Kololo.

Makerere Holdings Board Chairman Charles Mbire was optimistic investment in the two land projects would fetch the cash-strapped institution “a good return on investment” to complement fees and government funds.

He added that the two projects were “just a beginning” of a series of investments into the university’s idle resources projected at over $500m (about Shs 1.3tn).

Mbire revealed that the projects would kick off in April next year, after the signing of memoranda of understanding with the contracting companies and approval by the university council. Completion of these projects is expected in two or three years, Mbire added.

But some companies expressed no interest in the construction of a hotel and convention centre at the Makerere University guesthouse land reasoning that it was not economically viable. Following numerous strikes by dons over low pay, the university authorities in August formed a holdings company to develop and manage its commercial entities.

Council Chairperson Charles Wana-Etyem said the university, through another entity, the Makerere University Endowment Fund, would tap into its alumni network.

Makerere’s quest for self-reliance comes on the heels of financial shortfalls that have bedevilled the country’s oldest institution of higher learning in recent times. As management awaits the fruits of investment in the idle resources, Makerere like the four other public universities, will be banking on government to increase its subvention as well as increase the dons’ pay next year.

Source : The Observer

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