Local content policies in the road construction sector in Uganda : a case study of UNRA
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The purpose of the study was to assess the effectiveness of local content policies implementation on road construction sector at Uganda National Roads Authority. The study followed three objectives which included examining the status of local content policies related to road construction sector in UNRA, assessing challenges hindering implementation of local content policies by UNRA and identifying strategies to overcome challenges faced when implementing the local content policies in UNRA. The study adopted a cross-sectional survey design while considering quantitative approach. Data was collected using questionnaires from 30 respondents. The study revealed that most of the raw materials used in road construction are locally supplied. Most local Ugandans are employed in positions that require fewer skills. But Ugandans with required skills are given priority over the foreigners. There is increased transfer of skills to local Ugandans and expansion & diversification of local suppliers have reduced reliance on foreign expertise hence local companies being subcontracted in construction sector. However, UNRA still heavily relies on the foreign capital and consultancy. Challenges like local Ugandan companies lacking funds and inadequate financing options have made local companies lack capacity to purchase machinery needed in road construction. The technological gap by local companies is linked to lack of capacity to supply quality raw-materials and inadequate capacity to do road construction works. However, lack of skills, skilled locals demanding high salaries and local of information on local suppliers had an insignificant impact on the implementation of the local content policies at UNRA. For a successful implementation of the local content policies there is need for the government to pass strong laws and regulations that protect and promote local policies and establish an independent authority to enforce and monitor policy implementation for companies that do not comply. The government needs to train local firms to equip them with skills, avail them with easy access to finance and remove infrastructure barriers as a way of empowering those local firms to compete favorably with foreign firms and the government sensitizing different stakeholders on the benefits of implementing local content policies and costs of not implementing it.