By Drake Nyamugabwa
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has endorsed a proposal for the review of Uganda’s procurement laws so as to ensure that 30 percent of all government contracts are reserved for women.
She said deliberate action should be taken to reduce disproportionate engagement of women in productive activities by opening up new employment opportunities for them.
Citing the Energy and infrastructure projects such as roads, Kadaga said Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) should ensure that a certain portion of its public works are set aside for women.
“I would like to see in the adverts that UNRA puts out that there should be a clear component that 30 percent of the project will go to the youth and women. I want to see that in the advert. I would like to see a situation where we also break the bid bonds into components where women and youth are able to participate,” Kadaga said.
A bid bond is issued as part of a supply bidding process by a contractor to provide a guarantee that the supplier will execute the contract under the terms at which they bid. The Speaker was also optimistic that the local content law would better express the intentions of the policy and women’s participation.
Kadaga was making remarks on Fridaynduring the sidelines of the ongoing UN Commission on the Status of Women taking place in New York.
Commenting on Uganda’s success in implementing inclusive sustainable infrastructure for promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, Kadaga stated that she had also made a similar appeal to IMF boss Christine Lagarde to ensure that its loans take into consideration the interest of women.
“The bid bonds lock out women because of the enormous amounts of money needed,” she explained.
She reechoed concerns of accessibility by women and vulnerable persons to social services saying that in the 9th Parliament, a resolution was made that any new road should have rest places.
“We support inclusive infrastructure and I ask the members of parliament to carryout oversight on the loans,” she said.
Sylvia Nabatanzi Muwebwa, the Chairperson Equal Opportunities Commission said with the roads bill that is currently in the offing, women should be supported legally to undertake some of the government projects.
During the same event, the UN Women Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Dr. Izeduwa Derex-Briggs, lauded Uganda for being a trailblazer in enacting legislation that advances the interests of women and girls and for exposing women to markets. She said these were gains worthy of note.
She urged governments to ensure that socio economic infrastructure responds better to the priorities of women and girls at grassroots level and that governments accelerate ongoing efforts to support women owned business to participate in government funded infrastructure projects.
The 63rd UN Commission on the Status of Women taking place from 11-22 March in New York has attracted representatives of UN member states, civil society, to discuss progress and gaps in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women. The conference is meeting under the theme “social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.”