Kiira Motors assembly plant sets benchmark for local content

MOSTI PS David O O Obong, centre, flanked to the left by Kiira Motors chief executive Paul Isaac Musasizi, addresses a section of contractors during a visit to the site of KMC’s final assembly facility on March 22.
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The ongoing construction of a motor vehicle assembly plant by Uganda’s automotive value chain pioneer, Kiira […]

The ongoing construction of a motor vehicle assembly plant by Uganda’s automotive value chain pioneer, Kiira Motors Corporation, has set a new record for local content even as it raises the bar for the selected firms to deliver to time and specification.

In a departure from typical civil contracting in Uganda, Kiira Motors has selected Ugandan firms to execute 100pc of the non-tooling aspects of the project. National Enterprise Corporation NEC, the business arm of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces was selected as the prime contractor for the main building works.

NEC is being supervised by Technology Consults the consulting offshoot of the Makerere University College of Engineering and Design. Electrical contractor Kirchof Technicians, which has already taken a 33Kv powerline as well as a step-up transformer to the site, is being supervised by UMEME.

Meanwhile Free Construction, a Ugandan civil contractor with an extensive portfolio in eastern Uganda, who won the contract for building a 2.4kilometre dual carriage road to the site and another 380 metres of high performance road within the manufacturing complex, are being supervised by Com Consults, another Ugandan firm which was also responsible for the design of the roads.

Gets Technical Services has already laid a 5.4 kilometre six inch water pipeline running from the municipal water supply at Lwanda, to the site. National Water and Sewerage Corporation was the supervising consultant.

Civil works have started in earnest at the 100 acre site in Mawoito Parish, Kakira Division, Jinja, with prime contractor National Enterprise Corporation NEC, moving earth to prepare the ground for laying of the assembly plant’s sub-base, concrete slap and primary beams.  NEC which took over the site on February 16, has committed to a tight project execution matrix that binds them to deliver the assembly shop on January 6, 2020.

NEC has also subcontracted House of Concrete East Africa Limited to supply all the concrete for the project. A joint venture with Ugandan and American interests, House of Concrete is already active in the oil and gas sector. Chief executive Steven Nicoll told 256BN that their onsite concrete batching plants have the capacity to lay all 1440 square metre concrete slab in seven hours but they will have to adjust their workflow to fit in with the pace of NEC’s finishing teams.

Although all contractors were upbeat, saying they were sure of their credentials since none of them had been helped to the bids by godfathers, their assignments are still a make or break opportunity for them and the project.

Speaking to the contractors at the site on March 22, Mr. David. O.O. Obong, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation committed to give the project all the support it needed but also warned that there would be zero tolerance for sloppy work “because I have not been associated with failure in all the assignments I have been given in the past.

In selecting local firms, Kiira Motors was walking the talk of Build Uganda, buy Uganda” but it was effectively staking its neck in the process.

“I have confidence in the contractors because they were procured through a competitive and highly transparent process. In any case, despite challenges, the water and electrical contractors have not let us down,” says Kiira Motors chief executive Paul Isaac Musasizi.

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