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Local Transformer Manufacturers to Demonstrate Being Shunned in Government Projects

Transformer Manufacturers in the Country under Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) have threatened to demonstrate against Government Agencies’ failure to support them.

The four companies namely Orion Transformers Limited in Namanve, ECS Limited in Kawempe, Korica in Nalukolongo, and Transmax based in Kawempe accuse key players in the energy sector of awarding transformers supplying contracts to foreign companies despite the same being produced here.

In their joint statement released on Monday, June 1, the manufacturers say that this has affected the Government’s efforts of promoting the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) Policy which is aimed at promoting locally produced products.

These have revealed that for the last two years, the Government of Uganda has been in discussions with a Chinese company called TBEA China Ltd to undertake a US$212million project to expand electricity distribution to the sub-counties that have not yet been covered in the country.

“We thought that the same Government that is championing the BUBU Policy would insist on this project- buying locally manufactured construction equipment like transformers, poles, and cables.”

“However, we have recently learned with disappointment, that the Government of Uganda, through REA, has recently commissioned TBEA China Ltd to commence operations of connecting the underserved areas, without considering the local transformer manufacturers as key suppliers to the project,” reads the statement in part.

Manufacturers added that the contract was signed on October 31, 2019, but commissioned in May 2020 and it will be installing at least 3,400 transformers of various capacities worth at least $14,000,000, a number that can be manufactured locally.

They further argue that although the Government has invested heavily in the Energy sector, the Agencies in the Electricity sector have made it hard for them to get contracts for supplying transformers by putting up unfair bidding terms

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“First of all, only one transformer company (Korica) has been in operation for more than 10 years. Secondly, none of the transformer companies has sold new transformers worth $2 million annually because the biggest buyer which is Government has never given them orders to do so.”

Engineer James Kalibbala- the Managing Director of Electrical Control and Switch Gear (ECS), one of the transformer manufacturers says that it’s from the above reasons that they have asked President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Parliament to take strong measures against all those who have failed to implement the BUBU policy.

“Government should review its contract with TBEA China Ltd in order to reallocate the supply of at least 50% of the project’s transformer requirements to the Ugandan Transformer manufacturers,” the statement reads.

They have also asked Government to direct all new projects to buy all their transformers from the local manufacturing industries “since we have demonstrated that we have the capacity to produce them.”

 

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