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Local content bill seeks to restrict employment of non Ugandans in public works

MP Patrick Nsamba Oshabe tabled bill. PHOTO PARLIAMENT MEDIA

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Companies and persons using public money and resources will not be allowed to employ foreign nationals should the National Local Content Bill 2019 pass in its current form.

The bill, which is before the Finance Committee of parliament, seeks to impose local content obligations on persons using public money or Uganda’s natural resources or carrying out activity requiring a license, to priorities Ugandans in Public Procurement, ensure skills and technology transfer and provide for development of local content plans.

The bill 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.

The bill tabled by Patrick Nsamba Oshabe, the Kassanda North MP 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 department may grant authorization for the employment of a non-citizen where he or she is satisfied that every reasonable effort was made to find a suitable qualified Uganda citizen and none exists,” part of the bill reads.

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 per cent 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.

The Finance Committee Chairperson, Henry Musasizi, says the Local Content bill once approved, will build the capacity of Ugandans, which has been a major cry, but also ensure that 80% of the company budget for wages goes to Ugandans among other things.

Also, the bill restricts the grant or renewal and issuance of work permits to foreigners unless a Government department confirms that no Ugandan is suitable for the position for which the foreigner seeks to work in. The bill also proposes 40% subcontracting for Ugandans.

Patrick Nsamba Oshabe, the mover of the bill, says major projects in the country that form public works barely employ Ugandans despite the fact there are qualified individuals.

Persons and companies who fail to meet the requirements will be blacklisted for five years. The bill also lists over 124  Goods and services that can only exclusively be supplied by Ugandans under public procurement including  health related services, tour and travel, recreational and cultural services, financial services like money lending and communication services among others.

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