A Ugandan government official has said workers and suppliers in Uganda have no control in contributing to the ongoing Karuma construction project because the contractor is fully in charge of the contract.
Mr Henry Bidasala Igaga, the electrical energy commissioner at the Ministry of energy, said Ugandans should expose themselves to market forces of meeting the qualities, quantities and price that the contractors are offering for the materials and services they need because this is a “turn-Key contract”.
“The contractor is responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction materials and services. What we want is a final product delivered,” he said on telephone on Monday.
Mr Bidasala’s comments come after Ugandan manufacturers lodged several complains that their products have been sidelined in the ongoing construction project in Karuma power project. Earlier in a different encounter, the contractor said that they failed to source cement from Tororo and Hima cement plants because they had failed to meet the quality and quantities of cement needed for the project.
In her comment on the matter, the executive director Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority, Ms Cornelia Sabiti, said under the Oil and Gas Act, the ‘Buy Uganda, Build Uganda’ policy requires that all materials needed for such projects should be sourced from the local market but she is not sure if the same applies in the energy sector where this is a private contractor.
The government in 2014 came up with the ‘Buy Uganda Build Uganda’ policy which requires all local projects to source inputs and services sourced from the local market following an outcry from the members of the Uganda Manufacturers’ Association that their products were being sidelined for such projects.
Likewise, Tororo Cement and Roofings Rolling Mills have lamented that their cement and steel products which are major inputs in the constructionof the dam have been rejected by the contractor who has decided to import the products from Kenya and China.
Mr Alok Kala, the chief marketing officer at Tororo Cement Limited, said that in last year alone, the contractor brought in 32,000 metric tonnes of cement from Kenya’s Savannah Cement which is also said to have Chinese links.
Countries dealing in gas and oil production or mining are coming up with ‘local content’ requirements.
The development of local content follows many years of oil and gas or mineral exploitation in several developing countries, where the citizens seem to benefit very little.