Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC) Celebrates 120 Years of Existence

Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC) Celebrates 120 Years of Existence

Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC) recently started activities to mark 120 years of its existence with a public forum held in Kampala. Executives said, more activities including corporate social responsibility, and visits to higher institutions of learning would follow.

“This journey has sometimes been bumpy, but in most cases, it has been steadfast… we are on the right trajectory to even make it better,” Kenneth Oluka, the acting managing director said. At 120 years, UPPC is the forerunner of the printing and publishing industry in Uganda and is one of the oldest institutions in the country.

The company does both commercial and security printing. The current products are; the weekly periodical publication Uganda Gazette (government newspaper), laws and legislations, security printing, general printing and stationery. Its management has put measures in place to boost performance including; a fully furnished publishing house for private offers, state-of-the-art machinery, an e-gazette and regional posts in all parts of Uganda.

“As the saying goes; the older the sweeter. The more experienced, the more grounded, the more fortified. UPPC is all these,” Oluka said. He categorized the UPPC journey into three phases; colonial era; from 1902 – 1962 when typing was done by joining metallic letters by hand, later putting letter by letter to make a word and joining words to make sentences, until a document was complete.

Phase two was after independence 1962 – 1992 when mechanical typesetting came in with typing done by monotype and intertype machines resulting in fast typesetting. The monotype and intertype machines were used to cast type from hot metal composed of lead. There were a few computers that started coming in but of low capacity input and low speed.

Then the third phase ran from 1993 to date, when high-quality mackintosh and Microsoft computers were acquired. The use of darkroom cameras would photograph information from typeset copy to make a negative film, transfer the image to a negative plate, and plate to paper. This process, however, was faster and with lighter pages.

With developed technology, machines such as folding machines, perfect mina binders, pressing machines, perforating machines, and guillotine cutting machines, enhanced the publishing process. The latest phase is the digital era, in which players have embraced modern printing technology.

Currently, UPPC has a modern design house, a state-of-the-art HP Indigo Colour press. Management is in the process of acquiring more pre-press, press and post-press equipment. Yunus Kakande, from the Office of the President, who spoke as the chief guest said, the capacity of UPPC will be enhanced in the longer term to world-class standards when a security printing company that is currently being constructed by Uganda Security Printing Company (USPC) is completed.

USPC was formulated in 2018 as a special purpose vehicle to revamp UPPC. It is a joint venture between the Government of Uganda, represented by UPPC with majority shares of 51%, and a German Consortium Veridos with 49%. It is a 15-year partnership. Currently, USPC is mandated to print passports that meet international standards and electronic driver’s licenses.

Going forward, Kakande said, they plan to develop a national archive and mini- museum that will go hand in hand with plans for reviving a printing school. “We want to make a contribution of skilling young people; we are already in the formative stages and we hope by next year, it will have gained traction,” he said. “We also want to take a lead role in promoting literacy in the country through schools.”

Edward Frank

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