Breakthrough as Uganda Government ‘agrees’ to inject UGX 1.8 trillion in Magoola’s Dei Biopharm Vaccines Plant

Uganda government has agreed to inject UGX. 18 trillion into Dei Biopharm Vaccines Plant in Matugga (PHOTO/Courtesy).

MATUGGA —Uganda risks losing the chance to become the centre of vaccine production in Africa after Dei BioPharma Uganda Limited, a pharmaceutical plant under construction, has had their loan recalled by financiers.

Mathias Magoola, the firm’s proprietor, said they need about $1b (sh3.7 trillion) to complete the three phases of the project, but they have managed to secure about $500m (sh1.8 trillion – half of the funding) from alternative sources.

He said the first phase is 90% complete.

“We have been able to mobilise $500m from banks, partners and other alternative sources. We are now looking for $400m to complete the setting up of the project, and $100m as working capital,” he said.

This was during the tour of the facility by nine Cabinet ministers following the tabling of a funding request in Cabinet by Dr. Monica Musenero, the science, technology and innovation minister.

Dr. Musenero was accompanied by works minister Gen. Katumba Wamala; state minister for labour in charge of persons with disabilities Hellen Asamo and local government minister Raphael Magyezi.

Other ministers who toured the facility included justice minister Norbert Mao, Bunyoro affairs state minister Jenifer Namuyangu, trade state minister Harriet Ntabazi and lands state minister Persis Namuganza.

According to Magoola, the firm will provide employment to about 40,000 Ugandans at full capacity.

He said Uganda has a chance to develop vaccines which the Government has for so many years been procuring from abroad.

“We are talking about billions of dollars here. This is an opportunity
for the Government to make a name for Uganda through essential drugs and vaccine production,” Magoola said.


President Yoweri Museveni commissioned the factory, located in Matugga, Wakiso district, in October last year.

The pharmaceutical plant was set to produce high quality, yet affordable medicines across a range of therapeutic medications for cancer and malaria treatment, especially for millions of Africans.

The facility was billed as the only African pharmaceutical company that was set to manufacture COVID-19 therapeutic medications and planning to produce one billion doses of mRNA vaccines, guided by the World Health Organisation, according to the world body’s standards.

The development of the facility was financed through partner funding from Equity Group, which provided up to $100m for construction, importation of hitech medical equipment and machines, as well as working capital. Uganda Development Bank also contributed $20m.

Magoola said the factory is set to produce biologic solutions. known as essential drugs, which include Filgrastim, Erythropoitetin, Trastuzumab, among others.

He said they have secured more than 3,000 formulations, and would use d them to produce vaccines, anti-cancer drugs, therapeutic proteins, peptides and cell therapy, among others.

He decried what he called ‘sabotage i by some Government officials, who he said penned a letter to their main funders – Equity Group, advising them to curtail funding, alleging that the project was not viable.

“If that incident hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t be in such a position where we need an urgent bailout in order to salvage this project. We would be employing thousands of people by now,” Magoola said.

Magyezi said he initially opposedG overnment’s move to provide Dei Biopharm Vaccines Plant with the UGX 1.8 trillion bailout since it was half of the money needed to fund the Parish Development Model for a year, but he has since developed a positive mindset after touring the facility.

“The investment risks going to waste if Government does not intervene. I am now 70% convinced that as a country, we need this plant to operate in order to provide revenue to Government, as well as employment to our young people,” he said.

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