Accusations and counter-accusation dominated what was also the first dialogue for the building materials supply chain actors over the standards in the construction industry.
Players along the building materials supply chain have signed a
memorandum of understanding under which they pledge to work together through the Buy Uganda,
Build Uganda initiative.
This called for commitment from the
manufacturers, distributors, and the construction industry to prove the
standards in the building materials sector.
and counter-accusation dominated what was also the first dialogue for
the building materials supply chain actors over the standards in the
The event organized by the Uganda
Manufacturers Association (UMA) at their showgrounds was aimed at
finding out the causes of poor standards in the industry and chat ways
of rebuilding market confidence.
Board Chairman, Aga Sekala listed the challenges that the manufacturers
face, including the high costs of doing business due to expensive fuel
and electricity, the high and many taxes, the complex procurement
processes for government contracts, and unfair competition, among others.
Oscar Kamukama, the Marketing Manager at
Steel and Tube Industries who presented a paper on behalf of the
manufacturers also reported the practice of some
manufacturers who open outlets for the public to access their items
cheaply, hence making it hard for the distributors to do business.
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was also echoed by the dealers in building materials under their organization, the Construction and Hardware Dealers Association (CHADA). The sssociation chairman Abas Mutyaba described it as an unfair competition.
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Apollo Buregyeya, the chairperson of the Uganda National Association
of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors, said that this kind of
syndicating distorts the market but also sends a bad image of the
country to the International community.
He stressed that there
are manufacturers who practice market discrimination, selling products
to a certain group of dealers at lower prices than those quoted for the
rest of the dealers.
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the industrialists and the distributors accused the government
agencies, especially the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and the Uganda
National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) of high-handedness in dealing with
Abas Mutyaba, the Chairman, of the Construction and Hardware
Dealers Association (CHADA) faulted UNBS for targeting their shops
instead of going for the factories that produce substandard products.
said that they are incapable of telling whether a product is
substandard or not, but that the standards body doesn't consider
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also accused UNBS of "imposing standards copied from other countries
without considering the environment in which the Ugandan industry
But Patricia Ejalu Bageine dismissed the claim,
explaining that the Ugandan standards are not developed by UNBS, but
jointly by the industry, experts, government agencies, and the academia,
among others, which form the technical committee for the standard.
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She warned that UNBS will continue being strict on standards even if it means slowing down the expansion of the Industry.
to her, like what is happening with China, it would be a hard task for
Uganda to ignore standards now and then fight in the future to build the
confidence of the market about the local products.
She said in
the regional market, no country has rejected Ugandan products on
standards issues, but that the countries are playing in competition.
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Minister for Industry, David Bahati told the business community to
compile a report on all their challenges so that the government sees how
Bahati also assured them that most of the
issues raised could be handled under the different legislations
available like the Competitions Act, the PPDA Act, and the Consumer
Protection and Local Content laws which are still in the pipeline.
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Judith Nabakooba, the Minister for Lands and Urban
Development, tasked them to find out who is responsible for the
collapsing buildings, between the producers of the building materials
and the construction professionals.
She, however, stressed that
there is also a need for stricter standards in the housing sector because,
away from the strength of the buildings, some houses can be too
inconvenient for habitation.
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