KAMPALA– The executive director Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), Allen Kagina has expressed her concern over the lack of capacity by local construction companies, saying that it is limiting the promotion of local content in the Road construction sector.
While speaking at a UNRA meeting with members of engineering fraternity on Wednesday, Kagina said that UNRA has put in place policies to promote and help local contractors to participate in development and maintaining Roads but the local contractors are still failing to compete because most of them lack technical capacity, experience and qualified personnel to win big contracts.
“Most of the local companies lack the capacity and we cannot entrust a national project to them because they will produce poor quality work,” she said.
Kagina called upon stake holders to continue building the capacity of local engineers in order to gain profits.
“Our footprint in our country is very small. There are very many foreign countries which are ripping from these projects and taking away the profits to their own countries. We must build capacity of our own engineers; otherwise we will always be hostages to these foreign contractors.”Kagina said.
The meeting was held to decide on how UNRA and the two engineering bodies can engage each other, on how to benefit and improve the sector.
Engineers represented by Mr. Osaka a consulting engineer, asked UNRA to be balance desire with reality if at all they are to help the local contractors.
“Our companies have just joined this sector and we cannot have the capacity and experience of the foreign contractors. There is need to balance desire with reality if we want to promote local content,”Osaka said.
However, the minister for Disaster Preparedness Mr. Hillary Onek, said that Ugandan engineers are far better than foreigners only that they do not have access and exposure to modern equipment used for training.
“We are developing a training center where our local engineers can train and receive skills to be able to compete favourably .These young men are brilliant and if trained can even do much better” He said.
The discussion was between members of Engineering fraternity in Uganda and the Uganda Institute of Professional Engineers (UIPE) at UNRA offices in Kyambogo.