President Yoweri Museveni on Friday launched Uganda's first mobile phone manufacturing and assembling plant.
The plant by Chinese firm, Engo, in Namanve in the capital Kampala,will produce SIMI-branded handsets.
At full capacity, the factory will run three production lines; each line with daily production of 2,000 feature phones, 1,500 smart phones, 800 laptops, 2,000 chargers, 4,000 USB cables and 4000 sets of earphones and directly employing more than 400 staff.
“I am very happy with the Chinese solidarity with Uganda and Africa. Uganda is moving very well, the economy has grown to $35 billion using the normal method of calculating GDP,” said President Museveni.
He added that the only remaining challenge for his government to overcome was corruption.
“We don't have any other problem. We now have electricity, we are going to solve the problem of transport costs. We have also started solving the problem of ICT,” Museveni added.
Earlier, the State Minister for Investment and Privatization, Evelyn Anite said that manufacturing the phones locally will reduce the country’s import bill.
“A phone will cost only Ush20, 000 ($5). We are going to have a reduction in the importation of phones. The message I want to send to Ugandans today is to buy the products made in Uganda for the growth, development and betterment of our country,” said Ms Anite.
According to ICT Minister, Mr Frank Tumwebaze, one of the cost-push factors for internet is failure by people to afford devices that are able to connect to the internet.
“The phones we saw cannot connect to the internet but they are going to make smart phones. A plan is underway to connect all industrial Parks to the National Backbone infrastructure. Investors will not have to incur high costs of internet connectivity which in this day and age is an essential component of any industrial operation,” he said.