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Local Companies Advised To Embrace Joint Ventures With Foreign Firms

Gilbert Sendugwa is the Senior Regional Manager, CoST International and Executive Director, AFIC.

Local contractors have been urged to form joint ventures with foreign firms to strengthen their capacity to engage in procurement processes and deliver quality services.

This follows failure of many contractors at district levels to participate in procurement processes of infrastructure projects that are implemented in their communities, thus a call for support in their involvement to enhance private sector engagement.

During a multi-stakeholders Business Integrity Initiative Project Mid-term Meeting organized by CoST Uganda Chapter Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) and Ministry of Works and Transport,  The Project Coordinator, CoST Uganda, Olive Kabatwairwe, said that if local firms are to increase their participation in procurement processes of infrastructure projects, there is need for them to go into joint ventures with foreign contractors to strengthen their capacity and transfer skills.

“There is need to increase joint ventures between local and foreign firms to strengthen local firm’s capacity to engage in procurement processes. This will enhance skills transfer to take over infrastructure projects fully and deliver quality services,” she said.

The theme of the review was “Promoting Fair Business Practices between Government and the Private Sector in public infrastructure projects delivery processes.”

David Kiyingi Nyimbwa, Commissioner from Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, applauded Cost Uganda for the projects while appealing to stakeholders in infrastructure projects to embrace the culture of transparency through existing policies.

He urged them to utilize existing forums in government agencies to explain the benefits of assurance processes.

“Apart from reports, we need to look at informing entities on the benefits of assurance processes to open their eyes. Take advantage of existing forums in agencies to enhance transparency,” he said.

Gilbert Sendugwa,  the Senior Regional Manager, CoST International and Executive Director, AFIC said that from the previous 4 assurance processes, they indicate that the responsiveness of agencies to disclose infrastructure data is increasing while cost and time overruns is common in the assurance reports. He said Cost Uganda undertook the project to promote fair business between private and public entities to enhance trust and improve performance.

“Lessons from the four assurance processes shows agencies becoming more responsive and interested to offer project information to the assurance process to assess what’s going on right or wrong such that the outcome is discussed,” he said.

Open Data Specialist, Michael Chengkuru, told stakeholders that though there is increased infrastructure data discloser by government agencies, compliance to the discloser time lines is still very low which he says has consequences of delayed contract completions and the value for money invested.

He showed that the discloser trends of procurement data shoots up towards the end of a financial year and lowers again at the beginning which he says disrupts timely access if information.

 CoST Uganda with the support from the DFID’s Business Integrity Initiative is implementing an intervention for a period of one year – January – December 2020. The project goal is to promote fair business practices between Government and the Private Sector in Uganda, and the objectives are; to increase disclosed data to 60 points as per the Infrastructure Data Standard; increase competition in doing business with government agencies and; to strengthen transparency in procurement processes for infrastructure projects.

By Drake Nyamugabwa

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