At least Shs840b worth of contracts by Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) were awarded to local contractors in the first half of the 2020/21 financial year.
This, UNRA said, represents 39 per cent the highest since UNRA started awarding contracts to local contractors in the 2017/18 financial year.
During the 2017/18 financial year local contractors were awarded contracts worth Shs270b, which represented 12 per cent, before rising to Shs737b (28 per cent) in the 2018/19 financial year.
However, this reduced to Shs304b or 25 per cent in the 2019/20 financial year due to low activity and Covid-19 disruptions.
Data from UNRA indicates that the last three and a half year, contracts worth Shs2.15 trillion have been awarded to local firms in line with the reservation schemes representing 26 per cent of signed contracts.
Ms Allen Kagina, the UNRA executive director, said the rising contracts offers to local firms signifies commitment to build capacity among local firms, which had for years not benefited from large contracts.
Addressing local contractors in Kyambogo to deliberate on issues such as procurement, local content, and performance of sub-contracts, Ms Kagina said UNRA was mindful of ensuring that local contractors are considered in the share of government’s projects.
“In the last six months we have awarded contracts worth Shs840b, which represents 39 per cent of the total we have signed in the 2020/21 financial year,” she said, noting it was important that the number is grown on a cumulative basis as and when there is an opportunity.
Under the National Local Content Act, it is required that at least 40 per cent of the scope of contracted services is awarded to local contractors.
However, a number of contractors have not benefited because of low capacity and lack of expertise.
Ms Kagina also cautioned local contractors to avoid connivance in which they are bought out by international contractors in the name of acting as the sub-contractors.
“The international companies tend to dominate the contracts available, you acknowledge to UNRA that you are the sub-contractor [yet] you have been bought out and [reduced] to receiving money while doing no work,” she said.