New law to regulate masons, construction sites in Uganda in offing

Six killed, three sustain injuries at Kansanga construction site
The collapsed building at a construction site in Kasanga

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | The Government of Uganda is set to implement new regulations for masons, commonly referred to as Fundis, on construction sites, along with regulations for construction companies.

This initiative is part of the proposed Engineering Professionals’ Bill, which has received initial approval from the Cabinet. The primary objective of this bill is to replace the outdated 1969 law, ensuring that regulations align with modern standards.

Under the proposed bill, liability will extend beyond individual engineers to encompass the entire construction team. It aims to regulate the entire construction site environment, including developers.

Speaking at the World Engineers’ Days, Dr. Monica Musenero, the Minister for Science and Technology, emphasized the crucial need for an updated law that meets contemporary standards. She pointed out Uganda’s advancements in the engineering sector and stressed the significance of hands-on training for engineers.

Minister Musenero particularly highlighted the relevance of practical skills for engineers, especially with the emergence of local automotive manufacturing. This shift in the industry underscores the necessity for mechanical engineering professionals who are well-versed in practical skills.

The proposed Engineering Professionals’ Bill aims to address these evolving needs and foster a regulatory framework that supports the modernization of the engineering sector in Uganda.

“We have been training engineers largely theoretically because we are not training them to fit in a particular industry, but this is going to change because when we start manufacturing automotive, we will need people who can design the different parts. So we are going to expand the role of engineers in the country, with specific hands-on training, and by this, we are going into hands-on engineering, and once it is started, we will open up regional centers to decentralize the system,” Dr. Monica Musenero explained.

The proposed law is being introduced at a crucial time when Uganda’s construction sector is grappling with numerous irregularities, especially in civil works, leading to unfortunate incidents like building collapses.

Isaac Mutenyo, Chairman of the Engineers Registration Board, emphasized the pressing need to pass the Engineering Professionals’ Bill. This legislation aims to establish accountability throughout the construction value chain and delineate penalties for professional negligence, addressing the current challenges in the industry.

Also Read: Six killed, three sustain injuries at Kansanga construction site

Mutenyo highlighted that the proposed law will not only hold individual engineers accountable but will also encompass construction companies, ensuring a comprehensive approach to regulation.

Musa Ecweru, the State Minister for Works, called upon engineers to adapt to global changes, particularly those related to climate change. He reassured individuals in public office about job security amidst government rationalization efforts and encouraged financial institutions to continue supporting contractors with valid contracts, despite ongoing mergers within government agencies.

These legislative changes are designed to enhance accountability and professionalism in the engineering sector, with the aim of addressing existing challenges and fostering a more resilient and secure industry.