Home-Made Electric Cars to Solve Challenges of Pollution-Technology Minister Elioda
By Adiga Julius
The Minister for Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye has said Uganda needs electric cars in order to reduce the poor quality of air pollution in the city.
While appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on the National Economy to give the ministry’s view on the effects of COVID -19 on the science, technology, and innovation sector and the way forward, the minister revealed that Kampala is the second-highest polluted city in Africa.
“First of all, the major cause of pollution in Uganda is mainly used vehicles which do not efficiently burn fuel, but also getting a lot of waste coming from diesel producing Nitrogen oxide. This pollutant is emitted from vehicle exhaust and causes problems in the lungs and can also cancer, allergy “Hon Elioda explained.
He said one of the solutions to curb the high pollution in Kampala is to start using electric cars and the city will become cleaner, adding that mass transportation system that only uses diesel-cars causes more pollution in the city.
“That’s why we are insisting that the buses, we bring into Kampala should be electric buses because if you bring fuel buses, they will worsen the situation of Kampala the Minster noted”.
He said the government is building an assembly plant that has the capacity to produce 5000 buses every year once it is fully equipped and functional.
He added that currently, Uganda is working on a fleet of buses from a plant in Nakasongola district which will be producing 16 buses every month. He said the production line will supply Kampala city authority (KCCA) with buses.
He said that Kira Motors Corporation (KMC) is in advanced stages of finalizing phases one and two of the vehicle assembly and will be ready to supply electric buses too.
The chairperson of the committee Syda Bbumba who also doubles as Nakaseke County North MP concurred with the minister on the issue of pollution in Kampala.
“Some of us are asthmatic, Kampala is a problem, for me when am coming from my area the moment I enter Kawnada, even if am sleeping I will know because I start sneezing and coughing because of the pollution Hon Syda noted”.
On a negative side of COVID-19 on the sector, the minister noted that key science and technology-based chains in the country have been affected. Following the outbreak of the pandemic, global demand for medical supplies occurred.
However, said that the demands have also presented a very huge opportunity for Uganda to use science, technology, and innovation to meet almost all necessities of Uganda and her neighbors.
He said that Uganda’s scientists and technologists are now engaged in the development of local scientific solutions to support import substitution directed towards COVID management in areas of ventilator diagnostics, therapeutics, and PPEs among others.
The Director Technopreurship in the ministry Mr. Basil Ajer said that the ministry is promoting manufacturing testing kits, for COVID-19 vaccines, and other support equipment to meet existing and anticipated local demand in the country as a short and long term strategy.
He said Uganda Industrial Research Institute (URI) a government parastatal under the auspices of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation and the ministry of health are working together to produce enough face masks needed in the country as a result of the supplementary budget allocated to the ministry.
He added that the government is in the process of procuring equipment worth Ugx 5 Billion shillings to support the scientists in the areas of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines to create savings from the importation of COVID-19 management solutions and also develop the local medical and pharmaceutical industry among others.