Museveni Blasts Finance Ministry over Bribes

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KAMPALA– President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on Wednesday 21st July 2021 directed the Kampala Capital City Authority and METU bus industries to finalized plans for the company to assemble and manufacture buses to ease transport needs in the greater Kampala Metropolitan Area.

This development comes after President Museveni blasted government officials over corruption and red-tape which he said was delaying implementation of key infrastructure projects. 

The President in a final push to get the project off the ground after three years of bureaucratic red-tape summoned all stakeholders including the Vice President, Jessica Alupo, Minister for General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister Kasule Lumumba, the Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija, Minister for Investment Evlyne Anite, the Minister for Kampala Misi Kabanda, KCCA Executive Director Dorothy Kisaaka and the METU Bus Industries proprietor Metu Katabazi to address the matter.

A source privy to a high level heated meeting in State House said that a visibly angered Miseveni, lamented that he handed this matter to the Ministry of Finance and Attorney General’s office, but nothing moved and was surprised to hear that some people asked for bribes.

The very annoyed President Museveni also said that he heard that people from Ministry of Finance wanted loans from Africa Development Bank but the condition was that buses should be  imported and wondered how the buses could be imported when they can be assembled  within the country.

It should be remembered that in 2019, President Museveni commissioned Metu-ZhongTong bus-assembling plant based at Namanve in Wakiso District and the facility that was started up by Metu Katabazi, its Chairman and proprietor which started in 2017 with the selling of spare parts of heavy vehicles and later ventured into the assembling of 67-seater buses in June 2018 later went into a technological partnership with a Chinese Bus manufacturing company, ZhongTong, and currently employs 55 people.

President Museveni who was impressed with the start-up factory, urged Africans to always believe in themselves adding that it was possible for them to also start making cars just like he had seen in the assembling plant and he promised to support METU hence the idea of the factory manufacturing buses for Kampala. 

Museveni is reported to have insisted that the idea of producing buses and trains in Kampala is to lessen the crowds and reduce piki piki and Katabazi assured him that if he was given the concession to operate Kampala Services, he would fabricate and operate here the assembling of buses within the country.

The Minister of Finance Matia Kasaijja said the project delayed because they were waiting for KCCA to work on the roads which are narrow and may inconvenience or cause accidents.

The President was however not happy that the Ministry of Finance officials focused on the roads and not the manufacturing which would make a multiplier effect on employment opportunities. 

KCCA Executive Director Dorothy Kisakka assured President Museveni that following approval by the Attorney General the process has been completed after the signing of the agreement and MoU between KCCA and METU.

Recently Metu Katabazi who embarked on a bus assembly plant in Kasese said they would invest US 50 million dollars in the next five years and hope to build capacity to manufacture over 100 buses including the 4metre city buses, for rapid transport for the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA) including the Kampala city centre and the inner suburbs.