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MPs Protest Army Uniform Award To Kenya Firm

By Vision Reporter

Added 24th April 2001 03:00 AM

MEMBERS of Parliament on the sessional committee on trade and industry have protested the award of a tender for the supply of army uniforms to a Kenyan firm.

By Felix Osike and Yunusu Abbey MEMBERS of Parliament on the sessional committee on trade and industry have protested the award of a tender for the supply of army uniforms to a Kenyan firm. The planned importation of 600 officers' uniforms expected to cost about US$23,000 (sh41.4m) has sparked off a row between the army and local textile dealers. The chairperson of the committee, Daudi Migereko, in a letter to the State minister for Defence, Stephen Kavuma, called for a review of the contract. Kavuma was not available for comment. "We have received reports from the Uganda Manufacturers that your ministry has awarded the tender to Bedi Fabrics which is a Kenyan firm to supply ceremonial uniforms No.2 and No. 4 yet these uniforms can be supplied locally," Migereko said. MPs said the tendering process was not transparent. "The decision does not auger well for our garment manufacturers. It does not help us fight unemployment nor save us foreign exchange," he said. Military sources said the Kenyans are selling the 600 officers' uniforms at US$38 per pair, each shirt would cost $8, while the neckties would be bought at $1.5 each. An Indian firm, Alps, was contracted to supply 600 pairs of black and brown officers' shoes expected to cost US$22,200 (sh39.9m). The Indian-made shoes would be sold to the UPDF at $37 per pair. But reports said the award to the Kenyan firm has drawn strong protests from local manufacturers and textile dealers, who claim there was lack of transparency. The critics accused the army of side-lining local companies and favouring foreign firms. Some high profile members of the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) have also blamed the army over the deal. "The UPDF officers at army headquarters in Bombo seem to have turned a deaf ear to President Museveni's pleas to promote the local industries which would have been awarded such contracts," said one UMA member. The UMA member, who declined to be named, said tender regulations were not followed. But Col. Fred Bogere, the UPDF's chief of logistics and engineering, denied the allegations. He said the army was not favouring foreign companies as alleged. "The contract was awarded on merit. The tender was through selective bidding. We invited about five companies, which gave us their samples and prices. We went in for quality," Bogere said. He said Beddi Fabrics, the Jinja-based Eldama, Alps of India and Kent from Hong Kong were invited for the selective bidding. "It was after scrutinising the qualities of the materials given as samples and the prices quoted, that a committee of senior army officers recommended that the contract be awarded to the Kenyan company," he said. He said the committee followed the right procurement procedures and sent its recommendations to Army Commander, Maj-Gen Jeje Odongo, for final approval. Reports said the two contract winners (Bedi Fabrics and Alps), are expected to deliver the consignments by early next month. The army reportedly plans to use the uniforms on an official ceremony between May and June. Ends

MPs Protest Army Uniform Award To Kenya Firm

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