A UGX110b electric poles tender awarded to foreign firm reported to Museveni

President Museveni at the launch of Rural Electrification project(Photo/File)

A concerned citizen has asked President Museveni to investigate why the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) chose to contract a foreign company to supply wooden and concrete electric poles worth more than $30 million (Shs110 billion) when there are local ones capable of doing the same job.

In the petition dated January 30, the petitioner said REA did not follow the public procurement laws when contracting M/S Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T), an Indian company that is based in Kenya.

The petitioner adds that such a move contradicts the government’s Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy.

“Although L&T won this contract using offers from local pole manufacturers and suppliers, we have reliably learnt that after winning the tender they want to buy both concrete and wooden poles from Kenya. This is not only unethical, but it is also an unfair business practice against the local companies who provided to L&T their technical and commercial documents that enabled them to win,” the petition, also copied to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA), reads in part.

“Awarding the tender to a foreign company without any dingle presence in Uganda, not only disadvantages local investors but foreign investors as well, many of whom have been attracted here by your personal efforts,” it adds.

The petitioner further adds that concrete poles being manufactured in Kenya are cheaper but below the required standards by REA, which may compromise quality.

REA Executive Director Godfrey Turyahikayo on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, said he is aware of the petition and he has notified PPDA on the course of action to take.

“We are waiting for guidance from PPDA. They will guide us on the next step to take,” he said.

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