Uganda's Parliament passed the bill to encourage domestic trade © Photo by Mike Odongkara/AFP via Getty Images
Uganda's Parliament passed the bill to encourage domestic trade © Photo by Mike Odongkara/AFP via Getty Images

Public buyers must prioritise local suppliers under new Ugandan law

15 September 2022

Ugandan MPs have passed a law mandating the public sector to prioritise local suppliers – in defiance of the administration that insisted the law breaks trade agreements.

Parliament passed the National Local Content Bill 2022, which is intended to foster promotion of local content in all but the oil, gas and petroleum sector.

This was despite a letter from president Yoweri Museveni to the Speaker which said: “The bill is in conflict with the East African Monetary Union. Under Article 13 of the Customs Union Protocol… EAC partner states agreed to remove all existing non-tariff barriers to trade and not to impose any new ones.”

Museveni cast doubt on plans to create a Local Content Department under the Ministry for Finance, Planning and Economic Development to implement the law.

"It is not feasible for one department to approve local content plans from bidders, for each individual procurement for the whole country," he said.

Keefa Kiwanuka, chairperson of the Committee on Finance, Planning and Economic Development, said the oil and gas sector had been excluded because it required lengthy investment from suppliers before such investments became profitable.

In August SM reported that Amos Lugoloobi, finance minister in charge of planning, had asked lawmakers to closely scrutinise the Local Content Bill.

Lugoloobi said the bill was unlikely to guarantee Ugandan firms are prioritised during public procurement and could risk sparking disputes with trading partners.

However, some Ugandan MPs disagreed. Keefa said other East African Community (EAC) countries were prioritising local procurement, citing a local content law in fellow EAC member Tanzania.

“Even in Kenya, they are developing the local content bill. We are talking about goods which are produced in Uganda,” he added.

Committee vice chairperson Jane Pacuto Avur said each country in the EAC was allowed freedom of legislation on matters of procurement of goods and services.

☛ Want to stay up to date with the news? Sign up to our daily bulletin.

LATEST
JOBS
Brighton, East Sussex
Up to £65,262 per annum + benefits
Castlefield Recruitment
Brighton, East Sussex
Up to £47,672 per annum + benefits
Castlefield Recruitment
SEARCH JOBS
CIPS Knowledge
Find out more with CIPS Knowledge:
  • best practice insights
  • guidance
  • tools and templates
GO TO CIPS KNOWLEDGE