NEC sticks to June 2021 date for completion of KMC assembly facility

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NEC Engineering Works and Construction, the National Enterprises Corporation subsidiary executing the civil works for Kiira […]

NEC Engineering Works and Construction, the National Enterprises Corporation subsidiary executing the civil works for Kiira Motors Corporation automotive assembly facility, is maintaining its June 2021 guidance for delivery of the project.

Speaking to visiting journalists and officials at the site in Jinja on July 13, Lt. Alfred Nuwamanya, the assistant site engineer, said civil works on the 40,000 square startup facility were 55pc complete and; NEC was on course to meet its contractual obligation to deliver the completed project by June 2021. Construction of the 5000 vehicles a year assembly plant started in February 2019, with NEC expected to hand over the keys to the owners at the end of June 2021.

“We have suffered some disruption by Covid-19 which required us to reduce the hands on site. Also, last year was unusually wet, which slowed down progress. But we are through with the most difficult structural works and should be able to deliver within the original schedule,” Lt. Nuwamanya told 256BN.

The startup plant facilities include a final assembly shop, chassis assembly line, shop floor storage and circulation spaces, paint shop, electrophoresis, body shop, test track, offices, internal road network,  and a finished vehicle park yard and showroom among others.

Roofing of the central hall of the assembly shop has been completed while excavation works on the internal road network has commenced.

Kiira Motors chief executive, Paul Isaac Musasizi, says the design specifications for the tooling for the different parts of the plant have been locked in and procurement will commence once funds are released.

“We are doing whatever can be done within the available resources. Procurement and installation of the assembly tools should not be a big problem if funds are availed and the  physical building is complete,” he said.

KMC is aiming for a fraction of the East African passenger and commercial vehicles market which in the coming years, is projected to grow past 317,000 units sold in 2019. According to studies by the East African Community Secretariat, the regional automobiles market is expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 5pc, with demand for vehicles expected to reach 629,000 units in 2032. The assembly plant under construction will have an initial capacity to produce 22 vehicles a day, a mix of electric and conventional diesel buses and trucks.

Meanwhile KMC is making arrangements to assemble another four buses using the temporary facilities in Nakasongola. The four units will comprise another two electric buses similar to the two already on the road and two Euro-IV conventional diesel buses. The latter two have been designed to serve the long-distance market with operations in places where charging infrastructure might not be readily available.

According to Musasizi, the technical validation of the electric bus design has been completed using the two Kayoola EV buses. What is pending are market validation tests in a real operators environment. These will commence in a  phased manner in line with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, he explained.

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