The government is back to the drawing board to identify core investors who can set up an industrial park at Mazigo Village, Bukakkata Sub-county in Masaka District.
This comes after they reportedly failed to agree with the Chinese investors who had earlier expressed interest to redevelop Masaka agro processing industrial park.
On June 18, 2015, President Museveni launched the project and laid a foundation stone at the proposed site.
However, the site has since remained idle and is used as a cattle grazing ground.
The multi-billion project, which was spearheaded by the China African Friendship Association Uganda in partnership with Chinese Schuan Province, was expected to benefit more than 40,000 locals.
It was also intended to house fish fruit processing factories, a coffee processing plant, glass manufacturing factories, a vocational school and hospital and an administration zone.
The Chinese investors had promised to inject $300 million into the project.
Mr Vincent Kityamuwesi Musubire, the custodian of the selected 22 sites to host industrial parks across the country, said Uganda Investment Authority is still in talks with new prospective investors who are willing to take up the industrial park.
Mr Musubire, who also doubles as the deputy principal private secretary in the office of the vice president, said the Chinese investors who had earlier showed interest in developing the park wanted a joint venture with the government yet the latter preferred a purely private partnership.
"Government wanted a core investor who can identify other investors to work with and put the project in place, but they have not yet succeeded in this," he said on Tuesday.
He revealed that of the 22 sites, government has identified investors for Mbale and Kapeka parks.
"Some investors from South Africa have expressed interest to develop Masaka agro-processing industrial park but we are still sourcing more," he added.
Mr David Bulonge, one of the leaders of Greater Masaka Development Initiative, said they are still hopeful the industrial park project will succeed.
"We are eagerly waiting for the new leadership of Masaka District to assume office so that discussions with new investors who have expressed interest in the venture can start," he said.
Recently, Mr Bulonge, who also doubles as the vice-chairperson of China Africa Friendship Association Uganda, said the failure by Masaka leaders to transfer a land title to the investors affected the project.
"The investors had set it [transferring of the land to their names] as one of the conditions before the construction works begins, but our leaders relaxed," he said.
The outgoing Masaka District vice chairperson, Ms Janet Nakisekka, said the ongoing construction of Nyendo / Bukakkata Road caused the delay in transfering the land into the names of the developers since they wanted to have a clear picture of the exact acreage of land that would remain after the road had been completed.
"But we are optimistic the new district leadership will give it priority since the project will boost the region's economy and the newly created city," he said.
Criteria for development
According to Uganda Investment Authority guidelines, an investor intending to acquire land in an industrial park must have a registered company, an investment licence, comprehensive business plan, solid proof of financing and a sketch map of the land utilisation.
Upon fulfilling the above conditions, the investor is granted an initial lease of five years, which is extendable to 49 years after completion of physical development.
Masaka District owns 1.5 square miles of land at Mazigo Village, Bukakkata Sub-county, of which 1 square mile was allocated for the industrial park.
Source: The Monitor