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PROF TOGBOA LOOKING FOR SCIENCE STUDENTS TO MAKE CARS

The Kayoola bus in Arua

BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU

ARUA: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2021

Prof. Sandy Stevens Tickodri Togboa, the lead scientist in the Kiira Motors Project has said he is on a lookout for science students to train in manufacturing vehicles.

He indicated that after accruing the technological competence, his team is ready to expand the human resource base and help the government to realize one of its top priorities – using industrialization to transform Uganda’s economy to middle income status through import substitution and export oriented production.

“In this country not very many of you own private cars but you need to travel, that is why we have begun with buses to address the public transport system,” he said.

“Let me now see if the science students will come for me to train. We have the technical knowledge, our challenge now is only financial capital,” he declared.

The government approved a road-map for the establishment of the Kiira Motor vehicle plant in 2018 to be run by the Kiira Motors Corporation, a state enterprise in which the government holds a 96% direct stake while Makerere University holds 4% equity.

This was after years of research and development work that saw the manufacture of the first Ugandan electric vehicle in 2013.

On Wednesday Togboa arrived with one of the bus prototypes in Arua city and took a tour of the business area drawing cheers from the people before taking the vehicle to Muni University for viewing by students and lecturers.

This was the latest leg of the Kayoola diesel coach grand expedition road show to northern and eastern Uganda.

The Kayoola bus, a premium 12.5 metres long highway coach has been built through technology transfer and utilization of the facilities and resources of the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces National Enterprise Corporation Luweero industries in Nakasongola district according to a communique from the corporation’s chief executive director Paul Isaac Musasizi.

The Kayoola bus draws excited gaze from residents on the balconies in Arua city

Togboa projected a bright outlook for the motor vehicle project as Uganda embarks on building a nascent domestic automotive industry based on a mix of solar powered technology, electric batteries and diesel engines.

“We have made four buses and we are planning to make 1,000 this year if the agreements we are negotiating with some companies materialize,” he told a press briefing.

Togboa disclosed that of the 1,000 buses earmarked for production, 50 will be powered by rechargeable electric batteries while the rest would use diesel engines.

The bus project is targeting the East Africa community with Kenya said to be signaling interest.

Pricing will be comparative to the prevailing market price despite the spacious bus having only 47 seats compared to the 64 that Ugandans have grown accustomed to.

“Our bus is very executive and fitted with all what a traveler needs for comfort. Toilet, charging pots, rubbish bins and there is a general feel-good ambiance inside,” he boasted.

After consolidating the bus capacity, Togba said they will add manufacturing of pick-up tricks while saloon cars for individuals can be made on specific orders.

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