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Ugandans should win more local tenders

By John Odyek

Added 6th November 2019 03:50 PM

The minister appealed to local contractors to deliver on time, quality, and quantity and meet standards as they are given advantages during public bidding.

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Kyambadde (centre) together with Bukenya (third from right) and other officials during the launch of the summit for local contractors (Photo by John Odyek)

The minister appealed to local contractors to deliver on time, quality, and quantity and meet standards as they are given advantages during public bidding.

The minister of trade and industry Amelia Kyambadde has urged local contractors to get informed about the tender opportunities.

“Local contractors should get well informed about the tender processes and where to address their grievances if they feel cheated,” Kyambadde said.

This was during a meeting held in Kampala to launch the First Uganda Contractors & Providers Summit.

The Ministry of Trade, Uganda Contractors & Providers and Beautiful Partners are organizing the first Uganda Contractors & Providers Summit under the theme:  ‘Buy Uganda, Build Uganda from a contractors’ perspective’.

Kyambadde said there are middlemen who are exploiting local contractors.  “Please be-ware of these middlemen. There is corruption in the tender process. They make bidding expensive, every bidding step you make they ask for money,” Kyambadde said.

The summit will take place from 12th to 13th November at Serena Hotel Kampala under the theme ‘Buy Uganda Build Uganda from a contractors’ perspective’. President Yoweri Museveni is expected to be the guest of honour as the event presents a strong boost for Uganda’s local contractors and promote local participation.

The minister appealed to local contractors to deliver on time, quality, and quantity and meet standards as they are given advantages during public bidding.

She also urged public officials to make the bidding process easy for locals. “You make a contractor run from one ministry to the next looking for a signature that is a non- tariff barrier,” Kyambadde said.

Guster Bukenya, a representative of Uganda Contractors and Providers said they seek to create a platform to develop skills that can enable local contractors be part of the procurement cycle.

Bukenya said local contractors face financial challenges and other challenges that impact on their performance. “Contractors can play an important role in creating jobs, enable social and economic development,” he said.

“We want local contractors who are often made sub-contractors to grow and become the main contractors, local contractors have stepped up in terms of both quality and quantity,” Bukenya said.

The manager public and corporate affairs at the Uganda Revenue Authority Vincent Seruma said URA supports the BUBU policy. Seruma advised local contractors to comply with the tax system which will give them great opportunities to do business.

“Contractors can miss out on tenders because of not complying with the tax system. When you get into the bidding process you can grow and get markets in the region, the continent, the African Continental Free Trade Area, we need to prepare for these markets,” Seruma said.

Benson Turamye, executive director Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) disclosed that President Yoweri Museveni has issued directive requiring furniture to be procured locally.

Turamye explained that the PPD Act provides for preference and reservation schemes that give advantages to local contractors and enterprises to outcompete foreign bidders on the pricing element by small margins.

He said tenders of sh45b and below for goods are reserved for local providers. While tenders for the provision of consultancy services of sh1b and below are reserved for local consultants.

He noted that foreigner firms that win tenders are required to subcontract 30% of it to local firms. He said the goal to support local contractors and providers was intended to promote wealth creation, technology and skills transfer.

He said the ‘Buy Uganda Build Uganda’ Policy has guidelines which are soon turning into regulations to enforce them. He said the process of tendering online is promoting efficiency, reducing transaction costs, bureaucracy, delays and corruption.

Moses Kyambadde, managing partner Beautiful Partners said the summit will address issues of taxation, capacity building, opportunities and procurement cycles.

Government spends a significant amount of money in its expenditure through public sector procurement where over 55% of the budget implementation is delivered through public procurement, an area high with cases of bribery, according to the World Bank.  Experts estimate that Uganda loses about sh500b annually through corruption in public procurement.

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