Breaking

Development Partners Frustrate National Local Content Policy - Ministers

Eng Hilary Onek, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, but who served as minister for Energy and Mineral Development, laments the lenders' practice of imposing terms that include who should implement the projects.


Members of Uganda's Cabinet are bitter with the country's development partners, variously known as lenders or donors, whom they accuse of frustrating the success of the Local Content policy through unfair financing policies and conditions.

           

Engineer Hilary Onek, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, but who served as minister for Energy and Mineral Development, laments the lenders' practice of imposing terms that include who should implement the projects.

       

Speaking last night at events to mark the World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development, Onek who is also a Member of the Uganda Institute of Professional Engineers, says this frustrates efforts by the local companies to build their capacity.         

According to Onek, the laws should be amended so that the international companies do not have the prerogative, but the duty to take on local contractors to participate in projects. 

       

Cue in: “Recently my ministry….    

Cue out: … taking the money back.”

    

But Eng Onek also recognizes that building capacity also requires funding, yet local companies have a challenge of accessing affordable money, with commercial banks being too costly. 

      

For her part, Energy Minister Mary Goretti Kitutu disclosed that the World Bank wants to force Uganda to allow importation of electricity connection materials like transformers and cables, which Uganda had capacity to produce. 

        

Cue in: “One of the areas…..   

Cue out:…. With World Bank.//

    

Kitutu, currently superintending over the construction of electricity power dams and overseeing the implementation of the multibillion dollar petroleum development projects, revealed the arm twisting that the World Bank is allegedly subjecting government to, at the relaunching of the programme to connect consumers to the national power grid. 

 

The Uganda National Roads Authority Manager for Media Relations in the Executive Director's Office, Allan Ssempebwa Kyobe says UNRA is also affected when it comes to external influence by financiers. 

He says they are making sure they give as many deals as possible to the local contractors, by setting bidding terms that favour Ugandan companies. 

"Between July and December 2020, a total of shs839.7 billion was paid out to local contractors, including for supply of materials and construction works," he said.

"We waive the qualifications requirements for experience of certain aspects of works for which local companies have limited experience or exposure," he adds. 

As a result 90% of maintenance contracts are currently held by local companies. 

Ben Kyemba, the President of the Uganda Institute of Professional Engineers, urged the local companies to try as much as possible to get the available tenders, to build their capacity, despite the challenges.

 

//Cue in: “Participate…   

Cue out: … by foreigners.”// 

Keywords