Hon. Judith Nabakooba Calls for Collaboration for Infrastructure Projects During UMA’s Construction Sector Dialogue

by | Nov 30, 2023 | Policy & Advocacy

Kampala, 30th November 2023 – The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Hon. Judith Nabakooba, has called upon manufacturers and hardware dealers to collaborate for big infrastructure projects. This call to action was made during the Uganda Manufacturers Association’s (UMA) Construction Sector Dialogue held on 30th November 2023 at the UMA Head Office. The event aimed to boost the adoption of locally made construction materials, aligning with the ‘Buy Uganda, Build Uganda’ (BUBU) agenda.

The Minister emphasized that collective efforts would enable local companies to secure contracts for significant ventures like roads, oil pipelines, airports, and dams. The Minister highlighted that teamwork (joint ventures) could streamline processes, enhance professionalism, and contribute to timely supply and completion of the projects.

However, Hon. Nabakooba noted that 40% of real estate managers contribute to environmental degradation with a significant amount attributed to land fragmentation. She called upon industrialists to take up already gazetted areas in industrial parks as they are situated in location that pose a huge market potential for their goods.

The keynote speaker, Hon. David Bahati, Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives mentioned that there is over $230m in Uganda Development Bank (UDB) ready to support local industrialists. He however, noted that the challenge in accessing these funds highlights persistent hurdles in the financial ecosystem and that addressing this issue is crucial to ensuring financial support reaches those who need it most, fostering a more inclusive economic landscape.

Hon. Bahati also encouraged the manufacturers to embrace production of quality materials in an effort to tap into cross-border markets. This, he added, will position Uganda strategically in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which boosts a market of over 1.3 billion consumers.

He appreciated the significant legislative achievements made so far, including the conclusion and passing of the Competition Bill. The ongoing efforts towards the Consumer Protection Bill highlights Uganda’s commitment to creating an environment that safeguards consumers’ interests and promotes local participation in economic activities.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Aga Sekalala, the Vice Chairman of UMA, acknowledged the challenges faced by local manufacturers in the construction sector, including unfair market competition, taxation issues, limited access to finance, high building material costs, delayed payments, skilled labor shortages, inadequate contract management, and a complex procurement process. He emphasized that collaborative advocacy using forums such as the construction sector dialogue  among stakeholders are key in overcoming these challenges.

“The purpose of today’s dialogue is to create a platform for discussion and engagement among manufacturers, hardware traders, regulators, and professionals within the construction sector. This is with the intent to promote the uptake of locally manufactured construction materials, ensuring the sector’s growth in alignment with national policies and standards,” added Mr. Sekalala.

Dr. Apollo Buregyeya, representing the Uganda National Builders and Civil Contractors (UNABCEC), highlighted challenges associated with the current form of procurement contracts, advocating for a BUBU-focused contract structure. He stressed the need to separate material requirements, such as steel products and concrete, to avoid a “jack of all trade” scenario that hinders local development contracts.

Eng. Henry Mpuuga from the Uganda Institute of Professional Engineers (UIPE) emphasized the importance of skills development for engineers and the support needed within the value chain. He encouraged collaboration to enhance research efforts in universities, ultimately improving engineering standards and supporting local manufacturers.

The dialogue facilitated meaningful discussions between hardware traders and local manufacturers, promoting locally manufactured goods, encouraging adherence to standards, enhancing SME capacity in the hardware supply chain, and supporting the private sector in promoting the “Proudly Uganda” brand.

Aligned with the ‘Buy Uganda, Build Uganda’ (BUBU) strategy, this initiative aims to address challenges related to the price, quality, and supply of locally made construction materials. The construction sector, contributing approximately 8.7% to Uganda’s GDP in the fiscal year 2022/23, continues to exhibit resilience and growth with increased construction activities.


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