World engineering day: Stakeholders say funding of local content remains critical

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World engineering day: Stakeholders say funding of local content remains critical
Dr. Isaac Mutenyo, the Chairperson of the Engineers Registration Board , speaks to the media on the sideline of the event marked at Africana Hotel in Kampala.

Uganda has today joined the rest of the globe in marking the World Engineering Day, under the theme;'Engineering for a sustainable world.'

However,  strong concerns remain unanswered on how the engineering fraternity in Uganda can take full advantage of the local content policy, which promotes up to 40% of contracts for local actors particularly in construction works.

"As we gather here, across the world,  the engineering day is being celebrated. This is important for us in showcasing the many things that engineers do, in technology, science and engineering," stated Dr. Isaac Mutenyo, the chairperson of the Engineers Registration Board.

"We have 1,789 engineers as professionals on our database at the Engineers Registration Board. We still need to expand on this figures," Dr. Mutenyo, noted.

He emphasized that the new Engineers Bill should elevate compliance within the engineering fraternity and once passed; it's provisions against bad conduct should take effect.

In marking the World Engineering Day, the chairperson of the Engineers Registration Board also listed a number of other challenges that the sector is facing including the  need to increase number of engineers, the need for professionalization and maintaining competences.

He also noted that the board is also looking forward to generating an engineering index of civil, mechanical and electrical specialists among others to enhance the national database.

Additionally, undertaking an engineering census to ascertain how many engineers, technicians, artisans are available within the economy.

On local content, the event heard that a lot more is still needed to be achieved including technology, money.

"Foreign companies come with low cost capital,  equipment. There is need to acquire these so as to enhance the competitiveness of our domestic engineers," Dr Mutenyo advised.

The Chief Engineer in the Ministry of Works and Trandport Sam Bagonza, encouraged the engineers to be keen on environmental implications of the projects that they get involved in.

"Questions need to be asked to ensure that projects are sustainable as possible including adopting global environmental safeguards.  This should apply from designs, implementation and exit of engineering projects," Eng. Bagonza, advised.

Once we comply, with sustainability standards and principles which are measurable, while recognizing human needs. We shall be adhering to the benchmarks expected of us.

According Eng. Andrew Muwhezi, the president of the Uganda Institute of Professional Engineers,  "Establishing an engineers SACCO should set the pace for the creation of an infrastructure fund to shield us against the prying eyes of banks."

"We believe that we are the first point of contact. The vision speaks to the theme of sustainability.  People will listen to us a little more once we have our own source of affordable capital," Eng.Muhwezi, stressed.

"The best way to see the future is to predict it. The Uganda Institute of Professional Engineers is that we must be active participants by promoting research and innovation."

He also said that UIPE has digitized the whole process to enable as many new and practicing engineers to interact with the institute.

State Minister in charge of Works, Musa Ecweru, lauded the local engineers for their effort, reiterating calls for better quality assurance systems.

"How can we have 20,000 engineers but only 10% are registered ? This needs to be addressed. We must use regulations to supervise and eliminate shoddy works," Ecweru advised.

Dr. Monica Musenero, the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation said engineering solutions for skills development ought to be a very significant policy effort in order to realise Vision 2040.

"We thought of creating a system for science and technology.  We are now striving to achieve our mandate that is broad and cross cutting are well taken care of, " Musenero clarified.

She told the engineers that a comprehensive situation analysis has since been undertaken plus re aligning projects, programs and processes across different sectors in the country.

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