KAMPALA- Uganda has started the exportation of the locally made SIMI mobile phones with Morocco being the first external market.
“It’s a great morning. We are excited. Today the first batch of phones manufactured in Uganda being exported to Morocco will be flagged off,” The National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U), the statutory body that coordinates and regulates Information Technology services in the country said in a tweet.
Also in a tweet, Evelyn Anite, state minister for finance, investment and privatization, said on Saturday she witnessed the flag-off of mobile phones made by a Chinese-owned company.
“This morning, I had the pleasure of flagging off the first batch of Ugandan made mobile phones manufactured by Uganda’s first phone manufacturing plant (SIMI Technologies) to Morocco,” Anite said.
“This is a step towards reducing Uganda’s import bill on ICT products and boosting export earnings,” she added.
According to the minister, the company currently provides employment to over 400 youths.
“This is as a result of the government of Uganda prioritizing investment in industrial parks to support industrialization and create quality jobs,” the minister said.
Anite said the plant was not only contributing to the economic growth and development of the country but it was immensely helping in building local capacity through transfer of ICT knowledge and skills.
“In addition to manufacturing phones and laptops, SIMI Technologies has also started manufacturing protective eyewear and affordable Digital Temperature Guns which will go for as low as 50,000 Ugandan Shillings (about 13 U.S. dollars) in an effort to help fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Anite said. She also noted that SIMI phones have already hit the Ugandan market.
The five-million-U.S.-dollar factor which is under Chinese electronics company Engo Holdings Group Limited, was launched by the country’s President Yoweri Museveni in November last year to manufacture phones and laptop computers.
It should be remembered that In November last year, President Yoweri Museveni launched Uganda’s first ICT Manufacturing & Assembling factory. It is the same factory, today, that is ready to export its first batch of phones.
While commissioning the firm last year, the president told Ugandans that this was a drive to achieve the government’s initiative of promoting Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) programme.
In a letter addressed to the State Minister for Investment and Privatisation, Ms Evelyn Anite, the Uganda phone manufacturer asked Ms Anite to flag off the exportation tomorrow.
“I have the honour on behalf of the board of directors to invite you to our factory on May 23 to come and flag off the first Uganda-made mobile phones to the Republic of Morocco,” the letter to the minister reads in part.
In the letter signed by Mr David Beecham Okware, the chief executive board secretary of Engo Holdings Group Ltd SIMI Mobile Uganda, the company is also manufacturing protective facemasks to protect against the Covid-19 pandemic.