Analysis of the local content policy in Uganda: A case study of UNRA
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The study aimed at analyzing the local content policy for road construction projects in Uganda; with particular emphasis on the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). The objectives of the study were; to examine the existing policy on local content for the roads sector, to establish the factors that limit effective uptake of local content on road construction projects by UNRA and to design strategic policy framework for effective implementation of the local content policy in the road construction industry in Uganda. The study employed descriptive cross-sectional design. Both Qualitative and Quantitative approaches were used during the research. The study employed mainly simple random sampling, a sample of 85 was adopted from a population of 150 respondents at UNRA. Primary data were obtained through the use of interview guides and semi-structured questionnaires which were formulated and conducted among different categories of engineers at UNRA. The study found out that the road construction industry represented by the staff at UNRA was generally dominated by the males at 71% compared to the female counter parts with 29%. Most of the workers encountered had worked for UNRA for periods ranging from 2 to 3 years. Most of the respondents (65%) were professionally qualified with university degrees. The most prevalent age bracket for the respondents at UNRA was between the ages of 31 to 40 years. The major challenges that were identified included that fact that there is a no record of all the culprits of breach of the local content policy, that the Contractors stubbornly refuse to comply with the policy requirements and that there were too many projects to effectively monitor the policy around the country. The best strategies found out were sensitization of all stakeholders and contractors about the importance of the local content policy as well as updating the policy to better address some of the challenges identified. There were more males than females and according to my observation, civil engineering is a generally male dominated field where a few females have taken interest. It is also not surprising that most of the staff at UNRA had spent a period of between 2 to 3 years at the organization. It is true that in 2016 the organization underwent a restructuring in which the entire old staff were laid off and these new ones were recruited. The challenges discovered are justified because there are many projects for those who have to supervise and act as watch dogs to the offenders of the local content requirements. Also, sensitization is needed since the sector doesn’t yet fully understand the concept of local content. Traditionally, this has been a preserve for the oil and gas sector world over. The study identified and recommended that UNRA should update the existing local content policy in order to curb the challenges within the sector, that the government needs to continue supporting the parastatals under the Ministry of Works and Transport that implement the local content policy for the roads sector and that there should be a sensitization drive within the sector for all the stakeholders involved in the construction of roads about the benefits of successful implementation of the local content policy.