Civil Engineers under their umbrella body Uganda National Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors (UNABCEC) have appealed to the government to suspend the new public procurement and disposal of public assets guidelines for 2018.
These argue that the new guidelines allow foreign companies to outcompete local companies in low value tenders – a situation they say will affect the economy and create unemployment.
“They have introduced the ‘Resident provider’ in the new guidelines which means the multinationals can now also get contracts of Shs10 billion and below which was for the nationals according to the PPDA guidelines of 2017,” Daniel Lonkong, the acting Executive Director UNABCEC said.
For every developing country like Uganda, infrastructure is a crucial aspect top on the agenda of every government. However, without the participation of the citizens, the nation is bound to make back slides in improving its economy.
It is against this background that Contractors, have expressed dissatisfaction over the new public procurement and disposal of public assets guidelines (PPDA).
“If the local contractors are left out of this scheme, it means the country is not going to benefit and retain any of these investments in infrastructure,” David Ogwang , the Board Director UNABCEC said.
Initially, the 2017 PPDA guidelines stipulated that contracts of 10 billion shillings and below be offered to Ugandan companies. However according to the new PPDA guidelines of 2018 , multi nationals can compete with nationals on contracts of 10 billion and below which has worried the acting executive director UNABCEC Daniel Lokong.
“Give us an affirmative action to enable us develop and effectively compete with multinationals. What we are saying is that, give us enough space which is required for Ugandans,”Lokong said.
They anchor their concerns on the current Buy Uganda Build Uganda BUBU policy calls for employment and developing skills of Ugandans in order to attain Vision 2040.
“If we want a sustainable economy, then we need to empower the local providers so that we don’t depend heavily on foreigners,” Ogwang said.
It should be noted that quite a number of Ugandans are into disguised unemployment due to foreign dominance across different sectors of the economy, something that UNABCEC believes can be looked into by passing laws that consider local contractors.
“The construction industry is the only industry that is not regulated in Uganda,”Godfrey Rwakafunjo , the programs coordinator said.
“Government should come in to legally institutionalize what we are seeking for in terms of law. Give us our part to play and also give the multinationals the chance and together we can move forward,”Lokong said.