KAMPALA. Top engineers have decried the high numbers of unregistered engineers operating in the country, fearing that the profession may be infiltrated by quacks something that impacts on quality of infrastructural works.
Speaking during the inauguration of the new board of Engineers Registration Board (ERB) at the Ministry of Works and Transport headquarters in Kampala on Wednesday, the incoming Chairperson Dr Michael Odongo said that it is difficult to supervise the engineering services in the country without knowing and locating the engineers.
“There are many engineers in this country. The number may be over 10,000 but those registered with the board are about 1000. So we need to use the next two years of our leadership for the board to reach out to as many engineers as possible,” Mr Odongo said.
Mr Odongo said that the outgoing board on which he served found only 600 engineers registered and managed to increase the number to 1000 during its two year tenure.
He also said that the quality of engineers being produced by the universities and technical colleges around the country is wanting adding that the ERB is working with the National Council for Higher Education to regulate the engineering training curriculum.
“There is a program being worked on with the National Council for Higher Education to look at the curriculum in order to regulate the training of engineers in universities and technical colleges. There is decline in the teaching of engineering courses and this must quickly be resolved,” Mr Odongo added.
He also said that the ERB is working hard to get its new home adding that the plans to secure land through the National Investments Authority are ongoing. The board is currently being accommodated in the Works Ministry buildings at Kyambogo.
The new members of the ERB that have been appointed by the Minister for Works and Transport Ms Monica Azuba are; Eng Dr Michael Odongo who is the Chairman, Eng Henry Francis Okinyal the Vice Chairman, Eng Andrew Kitaka and Eng Elias Bahanda.
Others are, Eng Pande Michael, Eng Dr Florence Lubwama Kiyimba, Eng Peter Balimunsi and Eng Ronald Namugera.
While inaugurating the board members, Minister Azuba asked them to ensure that Ugandan engineers benefit from the ongoing infrastructure development by the government under the local content policy so that the income they earn boasts the economy.
Ms Azuba said that needs to ensure that the consultancy work on the “huge” construction projects is given to the Ugandan engineers as one way of helping the country to achieve good quality work.
“I am charging you to ensure that Ugandan engineers play a big role in infrastructure construction in our country. Let them be involved huge projects that are coming. Ensure the contractors and consultants in Uganda get these jobs,” Ms Azuba said.
The Minister also asked the new board to fight the shoddy construction works on both public and private sites to reduce on the rate at which buildings collapse in the country because they are poorly built.
The Engineer in Chief in the Ministry Mr Samson Bagonza encouraged the new board to instil the spirit of “team work” among the different engineering professionals so that they all deliver quality work in the country.