The Uganda Parliament will use Tatu City as a benchmark for the successful implementation of Special Economic Zones (SEZ).
This follows a successful visit by members of the parliamentary Budget Committee to the 5,000-acre new city.
In a press statement by the Tatu City Monday, the Uganda delegation of nine MPs who also visited the government-managed SEZ, Konza Technopolis, were making a tour to understand and also learn on operational manuals for special economic zones.
The Ugandan delegation, led by the Committee’s Deputy Chairman, Ignatius Wamakuyu stated that their country was in the process of operationalizing laws and policies to guide the development of SEZs in recognition of the important role they play in job creation and GDP growth.
“We came here to see and understand the policies, legal framework and other operational manuals for Special Economic Zones and the more reason we have met with different players in Kenya,” Wamakuyu said.
He noted that after learning and touring, they will thereafter generate a report that can be discussed in their National Assembly, together with recommendations to the Executive to initiate such developments.
The Ugandan government has implemented a hybrid model with a few industrial parks, but is now looking to expand these into full-fledged SEZs.
“Uganda is endowed with many raw materials and minerals, which will be exploited, once such facilities (SEZs) are established in the country,” said Wamakuyu, adding that the neighbouring country has also a large population of young people, who are more than 51 percent and who will benefit greatly from such facilities.
He explained that the budget committee’s job is to do appropriations, and look at them when the government brings proposals to fund such private entities.
“We have disagreements about why the government is putting money in such facilities. However, we have seen how the government can step in to invest in infrastructure for the benefit of the country,” Wamakuyu said.
Tatu City’s Director of Industrial Operations Tito Oduk said they have several businesses at the facility, which have operations in Uganda or trade with them, which shows that the two countries are both interconnected.
“We had fruitful discussions with the visiting members of parliament, about making laws that accelerate business within the EAC, with common tariffs for both private and public SEZs,” said Oduk.
Tatu City, Kenya’s first fully operationalized SEZ, currently hosts more than a dozen SEZ enterprises, with dozens of additional companies in the process of establishing operations.
According to Oduk, over 5,000 jobs have so far been created at Tatu City, with an additional 10,000 expected in the next 14 months as more businesses establish themselves.
To date, Tatu City has welcomed more than 70 companies, including Dormans, Copia, Cooper K-Brands, Maxxam, Twiga Foods, Freight Forwarders Solutions, Friendship Group, Davis & Shirtliff and KWAL.
By Wangari Ndirangu