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Policy gaps hurting local construction firms - player

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Vice President Edward Ssekandi commissions the quarrying and  stone crushing plant in Mukono last week.

Vice President Edward Ssekandi commissions the quarrying and stone crushing plant in Mukono last week. Photo BY STEPHEN WANDERA. 

By ISMAIL MUSA LADU

Posted  Monday, January 20   2014 at  02:00

In Summary

The industry is also short of specialised training institutions.

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KAMPALA

Local construction firms cannot fairly compete for large government contracts because the current policy is said to favour foreign companies over indigenous ones. And for that, the construction industry players want the National Construction Industry Policy of 2010, currently gathering dust at the Ministry of works, to be enforced.

“Delay in implementing the National Construction Industry Policy means that our investment will go to waste,” Mr Moses Ndege-Bbosa, the Managing director, Multiplex Limited, whose company has invested over $20million so as to have a chance at the big contracts, said last week when launching the company’s quarrying and crushing plant in Mukono.

In 2010, government put in place the National Construction Industry policy where it undertook to, among others, facilitate local firms in the construction industry to access equipment, credit and construction works—including those of big magnitude.

The policy would also develop and strengthen capacity of local firms with a view to have them compete against the big foreign companies in the construction industry. But, while the industry players say the above policy objectives were exciting, they reckon that not much has been achieved to date.

In his speech, Mr Ndege said in the last two years (over the period 2011- 2013) the economy experienced shocks after inflation escalated resulting in sharp increase in lending rates, hovering in excess of 30 percent. “Substantially increased financial charges have made local firms less competitive in relation to their foreign counter parts who borrow from overseas at less than 9 percent.”

In response, the Vice President, who officially opened the Mukono-based stone quarry and crushing plant, said he wasn’t aware about all these challenges but will have the government take it up. He said: “I am going to follow up these matters with the relevant bodies and will seek to have them solved in Cabinet.”

iladu@ug.nationmedia.com