Engineer Jameson Olonya is a Civil Engineer, a Contract Management Specialist and an Entrepreneur. He works as the contracts manager in Ugandan construction firm, Dott Services as well as a board chairman for the National Association of Building and Construction Contractors.
Mr Olonya spoke to MIKE SSEGAWA about opportunities for Ugandan companies in the construction sector as well as the recent successful roads projects completed by his company, Dott Services. Dott Services has done some commendable works on Ishaka-Kagamba in Western Uganda and Nakalama-Tirinyi-Mbale road projects.
QN: You’re a board chair for contractors in Uganda, what are your responsibilities and how does your association influence the contracts Market in the country?
Uganda National Association of Building and Construction Contractors Ltd is a company limited by guarantee. It was incorporated in 1993, with constitutional reviews to the current version of 2017.
A) The responsibilities involves, among other things:
To strengthen governance and management system
To develop strong membership and collaborations
To ensure responsiveness to market needs in service provision
To Strengthen the institutional resource capabilities
To promote visibility, advocacy and lobbying for favourable outcomes
The Association brings together as subscribers, formally registered Building or Civil Engineering Contracting Firms in Uganda as Members.
Influence the contracts Market, viz:
Develop and implement a Research agenda,
Identify and utilize existing synergies in member networks,
Host UNABCEC business exhibitions,
Tap into knowledge transfers from expatriates,
Uganda Vision 2040 provides the national aspirations into a Transformed Ugandan Society from a Peasant to a
Modern and Prosperous Country within 30 years. Hence, UNABCEC’s Strategic Positioning is:
Anchored on this growing national outlook.
To build strong member centred systems, provide cost-effective services, ensuring its own growth and pursuit of self-sustenance.
To be research and innovation driven, responding to the increasingly complicated construction industry in which government and the private sector are actively involved.
UNABCEC’s Vision is: “To be the lead engine for the growth and development of the construction industry in the region”
UNABCEC’s Mission is: “To promote and protect the shared interest of members and the construction industry as a whole, through mobilization, advocacy, networking and innovative service provision.
QN. You have spent several years of your life at Dott Services, what’s holding you there?
I know vision, inevitability and dedication when I see it. Thus, it has been with sincere excitement that I chose to partner with DOTT Services Ltd.
QN. Dott Services was once associated with shoddy works but of recent, your roads and completion time have been outstanding, what has changed?
Honestly, I am aware that there’s a learning phase, growth and economy to scale; and so on. However, as a matter of principle and organizational culture, DOTT Services has had farsighted business interest, commitment and relentless.
So, the “shoddy works” assertions may be a source and preferential position of people who do not know DOTT Services that well.
Some of completed project delivered by DOTT Services includes, among many others: Building: Women & Gender, and Food Science Technology Complexes in Makerere University,Road: -Kafu-Masindi Road 2005-2007 (Ug.),Marangu-Mkuu-Tarakea (Kilimanjaro area, TZ),Jinja – Kamuli 2012 (Ug.),Ishaka-Kagamba 2013-2016 (Ug.), Owned: -Office Complex in Naguru (Esp. Ug.), Two completed Hydo-Power Plants, Modern Mechanical Workshop in Namanve, Modern Fabricatio Workshop in Kawempe, Five Quarry/Crusher Plants, Three Asphalt Plants
QN. Looking at the roads you’ve made such as Ishaka-Kangama, or Nakalama-Tirinyi-Mbale road, these are some of the excellent roads in the country now. Can we say Dott Services has come of age and is ready to take on the biggest projects in Uganda?
DOTT Services Ltd’s Book Value is Approx. USD 3/4bn. Take for example, among others, the Namanve Kampala Industrial Business Park, where DOTT Services Ltd is undertaking 30% of the UGX 910Bn, an equivalent of Approx. UGX 273Bn.
QN. Is Dott services a Ugandan or Tanzania company? So many people ask about this?
DOTT Services Ltd is a 25 years’ old Indigenous Company, having been incorporated here in Uganda in 1994.
QN. Parliament passed the local content bill geared towards increasing indigenous people’s participation in their country’s development, how can Ugandans and Uganda companies take advantage of the Act?
Uganda Construction Companies should position themselves to take advantage of the 30% reservation scheme; which could involve, viz:
To have professional propensities (e.g.: Having the right people in the job, increased mechanization, etc.)
Be up to speed in relating to financial institutions (to have access to credits). Yes, the cost of finance is quite high in the country; but they could seek…
To form consortiums, joint ventures, and the likes; so that they have both voices, besides embodying competence.
Contractors should do excellent work, which would consequently earn admirations.
To properly implement the Act, the line Agencies must ensure that the wording and spirit of the provisos should be properly captured in the Tender Documents.
QN. Local companies such as Stirling, Zzimwe, Multiplex etc, are no longer visible. Possibly they ran broke or lost out on business in Uganda. What can be done to ensure more Ugandan companies join the road construction business?
This is and could be multidimensional factor, which includes:
There has certainly not been robust affirmative action to support construction firms.
It’s also not clear whether Government’s Line Agencies, Banks, Insurance Companies, Machineries and Plants’ Agencies have the philosophy to encourage the protection, growth and promotion of Local Construction Firms (in any case, without due advantaging the partner multinationals firms).
However, there is needed to look into how these companies were formulated, managed, and including legacy issues.
There is also need to have a robust regulatory body(s) and policy documents to ensure that construction of projects in and around the country are carried out by legal and compliant construction firms.
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