Finance Committee endorses law to restrict employment of non-Ugandans

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The Parliament of the Republic of Uganda

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Members of the Finance Committee of Parliament have endorsed the National Local Content Bill, 2019 which among others, stop companies using public resources from employing foreign nationals.

The Bill that was last year tabled before parliament by Kasanda North MP Patrick Nsamba Oshabe imposes local content obligations on persons using public money and the county’s natural resources and those carrying out activities requiring a license to prioritize Ugandans in public procurement, ensure skills and technology transfer and provide for the development of local content plans.

It also seeks to promote Ugandan goods, services and industrialists. The proposed legislation also seeks to provide for the establishment of a national local content committee and to maximize value-addition and job creation using local expertise, goods and services among others.

It proposes strong measures against employing foreigners especially in public works like construction, alteration, installations or repair work done under contract and paid out of public funds.

According to the proposal, a foreigner can only be employed where a Ugandan doesn’t meet the requirements for the job following clearance from a government department. The bill also proposes a succession plan for every position not held by a Ugandan.

The bill also proposes that for every position held by a foreigner, it shall be deputized by a Ugandan. The bill also proposes that 80 percent of the employees in companies using public money and resources must be Ugandans and that the salary difference between non-Ugandans and Ugandans shouldn’t exceed 10 percent.

Parliament’s Finance Committee Chairperson Henry Musasizi has already presented the bill before parliament for debate but observed a need to harmonize the Bill and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, 2003.

“The bill provides for negotiation of prices where the manufacturer or the service provider is a Ugandan citizen. However, negotiation of prices is not allowed under the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act. This may also disadvantage other bidders and affect the principle of competitiveness and transparency during the procurement process,” Musasizi told parliament.

He says that whereas the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, 2003 contains provisions relating to local content, the provisions are limited only to the creation of preference and reservation schemes.

Musasizi also told Parliament that the Bills will be helpful since the PPDA-issued guidelines for reservation schemes to promote local content do not have the force of law and therefore not binding.

He added that the guidelines are limited in scope as preference is given to procurement of army uniforms, electrical cables and conductors, medicines and medical supplies.

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“The “Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) Policy” which seeks to increase consumption and utilization of local products and increasing participation of the locally established firms in domestic trade has not been fully operationalized due to lack of an enabling law, the nonexistence of implementation modalities and lack of sanctions for non-compliance,” Musasizi added.

Kasanda North MP Patrick Nsamba Oshabe emphasized the need for a National Local Content law appealing for Parliament to support and pass it into law.

Bubulo West MP Rose Mutonyi said that the Bill was timely since it will help to partly solve the problem of unemployment in the country.