Addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre on Thursday November 13, Information minister Hon. Rose Namayanja has revealed that cabinet has finally approved the Uganda Development Corporation Bill 2014.
“Cabinet approved the principles for the drafting of the National Development Corporation on may 22 2014 and authorized the attorney general to liaise with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and co-operatives to draft the bill on the principles that were approved by cabinet” Namayanja stated in the statement”
She added that the draft bill will seek to establish the Uganda Development Corporation as the development arm of the government of Uganda with the mandate to promote and facilitate industrial and economic development in Uganda.
“Development Corporation is the catalyst institute in the achievement of the development objectives of the economy. Most developed and developing countries have used and still use statutory corporation to pursue their strategic economic development objectives” the minister read in the statement.
“Cabinet realized re-introducing UDC will help foster sustainable development through amongst other ways strategic partnership in public and private sector and this bill seeks to empower the corporation to do that” the minister explained.
“The Development Corporation will be an independent agency on behalf of Government of Uganda in partnership with the private sector or through the Public Private Partnership (PPP)” Namayanja continued.
The minister argued that the Uganda Development Corporation would steer industrialization leverage risk perceived by the private sector for especially large infrastructure and industrialization projects.
She stressed that cabinet approved the UDC Bill 2014 and authorized ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives to publish the bill in the Gazette and introduced in Parliament. She added that cabinet directed the winding up of Uganda Development Company Limited with immediate effect.
In 2011, Cabinet decided that the UDC be revived to drive industrialization. But this decision has remained on paper for over four years due to disagreements among the Trade and Finance ministries.
In an article published in the New Vision on May 19, 2014; Minister of Trade and Industry Amelia Kyambadde accused the Ministry of Finance of frustrating efforts to revive the UDC. She argued that the bill tabled by ministry of finance for enactment of the Public Private Partnership Act would be the last nail in the coffin of the UDC.
In the same article Finance ministry officials argued that the individual ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) will have the role of implementing PPP’s.
“All Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) are responsible for the identification of candidate PPP projects and submission of the projects to the PPP unit in the ministry of finance, with all the information required for screening them so that the Government doesn’t waste money” the state minister for investment, Gabriel Ajedra told the New Vision.
First established in 1952, UDC was the main driver of Uganda’s industrial and economic development in the 1960s and 1970s. By 1971, UDC had 36 subsidiaries and 22 associated companies. It had investments in such big enterprises such as NYTIL Jinja and Uganda Hotels.
The UDC suffered economic decline in the 1970s and finally the UDC Act was formally repealed in 1998 with the liberalization of the economy.