Substandard Steel, Cement Sidelining Local Manufacturers in Big Projects

The Minister of Trade, visit this Industry and Cooperatives Hon. Amelia Kyambadde has revealed that majority of the manufacturing companies still lack the capacity to provide the materials required in the huge infrastructural projects by government.

A recent nationwide survey conducted by Uganda National Bureau of Standards and the Ministry of Trade discovered that technology especially in the steel industries hasn’t been advanced enough to meet the procurement requirements.

Minister Kyambadde told journalists on Thursday that the study covered eleven cement and steel producing companies among them; Roofings Ltd, cost Uganda Baati Ltd, doctor Madhvani Steel Ltd, East African Roofings Systems Ltd and Kampala Cement.

This is part of government’s efforts to increase the consumption of local products through the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy. Through this, government also intends to increase the participation of local firms in domestic trade.

“We have found out that most steel companies don’t produce steel bars from virgin iron and steel raw material as required of suppliers for the Standard Gauge Railway,” said the Minister.

“Technologies being used by most of the companies also don’t meet the standards for big projects like Isimba and Karuma dams, the Standard Gauge Railway and roads. For example steel companies don’t use zignalization which would have protected the steel bars.”

Kyambadde noted that in order to meet the requirements to supply materials, these companies will need a complete overhaul of their manufacturing belt. However, she said most of the cement producers met qualified and have already started supplying.

As part of the BUBU policy, a trade opportunity of over Ugshs 32bn has been garnered with textile companies like NYTIL and Fine Spinners Ltd already supplying uniforms to the UPDF and Police.

“My Ministry has engaged school to interest them into their uniforms from local suppliers and we are mobilizing local companies to showcase their products.”

However, implementation of BUBU is still hampered by some regulations which are not yet in sync. Kyambadde says she is engaging the Ministry of Finance and PPDA to have some of these laws amended to ease the policy’s implementation.


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