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.
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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.
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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
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