Effectiveness of national local content policies in road construction : a case study of Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA)
Nandala, Barnabas Ivan
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This study examined the effectiveness of National Local Content Policies in Road construction: A Case study of UNRA. The study was guided by objectives which included examining the extent to which local people are employed in road construction projects of UNRA, the extent to which local resources are used in road construction projects of UNRA, the extent to which local companies are sub-contracted in road construction projects of UNRA, the extent to which there is transfer of skills and training of local people by foreign companies on UNRA projects, establishing challenges and identifying strategies for effective implementation of National Local Content Policies in the construction of Critical Oil Roads under UNRA. The study adopted a cross sectional research design using a mixed-method approach involving both qualitative and quantitative data. The study considered 103 participants, but 91 managed to respond back. A self-administered questionnaire and interview guide were used to collect data from the field. The collected data with questionnaire were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS Version.20) and the findings were presented in form of frequencies, percentages, means, and standard deviations, while data from interviews were presented in statements that clearly represent the respondents’ views. The study findings revealed that most of the local Ugandans are employed as low-level workers and in the middle management. While very few are employed in top management positions. It revealed that local manufactured resources such as gravel, aggregates, cement and paint are used by UNRA in road construction. However, there are imported materials such as geosynthetics, bitumen and steel, which are mostly used since local ones are not available. Local companies are sometimes sub-contracted most in supply of materials, supply of food & drinks, as recruitment agents with few being sub-contracted in the construction process. However, foreign companies were used in consultations over the local consulting firms. Skills like construction monitoring & supervision, construction budgeting & costing, construction auditing, book keeping and financial management skills have been transferred to local individuals and firms by foreign companies contracted by UNRA. Challenges such as lack of machinery, inadequate financing and poor technologies by local firms and conflict of interests of donors that do not favour local content were key factors affecting the local content policies implementation. However, lack of required skills, technical expertise, demand of high salaries, lack of quality raw-materials, unclear company registration, lack of clarity of local content requirements and lack of information on availability of local suppliers & supplies were found to be insignificant. Lastly, there is need for the government to pass strong laws and regulations that protect and promote local content, train local firms, avail them with easy access to finance, coordinate them and remove infrastructure barriers as a way of empowering them to compete with foreign firms. Due to local popularity of the local content policies, the government also needs to translate them in different local languages, inform and sensitize different stakeholders on the benefits of implementing local content policies.