Expatriates deprive government of revenue, says official

The Entebbe-Kampala Expressway under construction. The highway is one, among many other projects, being constructed by expatriates. File photo

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Criticised. Government has been accused of favouring foreign firms in awarding contracts.

KAMPALA. Uganda will in the next 10 years need a few foreign engineering expatriates, the deputy chairperson of the National Planning Authority (NPA) has said.
Dr Abel Rwendeire said the government has realised that importation of expatriates deprives local construction companies revenue and employment and thus, a deliberate move has been introduced where the two [foreign and local companies] will share work.
“There is now a government policy where foreign companies subcontract a percentage of work to local engineers and companies. This will help develop the capacity of our engineers,” Dr Rwendeire said.

He urged the local contractors to utilise the opportunity to get the much needed experience and use the money from subcontracts to acquire equipment.
He said sharing work will also help the country not to spend a lot of money inviting the same expatriates to come and work on the same projects in future, in case there is a breakdown or renovation of any project.
Dr Rwendeire made the remarks last week in Kampala while officiating at the Annual Construction and Builders’ Expo at the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) in Kampala.

Incompetent companies
Dr Rwendeire’s remarks come days after Works minister John Byabagambi said eight out of every 10 local construction companies in Uganda are incompetent and do shoddy works which makes potential and genuine companies to fail to win contracts.
Ms Judith Nabatanzi, one of the expo organsers, said the event is premised on showcasing the potential the local companies have.
On several occasions, local companies have accused government of favouring foreign companies when it comes to awarding of contracts but government attributes this to lack of competence to do the work.

The projects
Currently, Uganda has contracted several foreign companies like China’s state-owned oil firm China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to develop an oil field, Portuguese construction company, Mota-Engil, Engenharia E Construcao SA to expand the Northern Bypass, China Communications Construction Company Limited to construct the four-lane 51.4 kilometre Entebbe-Kampala Expressway, among other projects.


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