Steel producers demand more market
KAMPALA- UGANDA-----Steel producers want the government to compel all foreign companies contracted to execute major construction projects like power dams and roads to subcontract them for the supply of steel materials. The local producers argue that many contractors import materials which affects the development of the local steel industries despite the fact that their locally made steel is of international standard. “Government should support the local manufacturers by enforcing its policies such as ‘Buy Uganda Build Uganda’ which the ministry of Trade Launched. This will compel contractors to sub-contract local manufacturers to supply construction materials such as steel,” said Oliver Lalani the Executive Director Roofing’s group one of the leading steel producers. Lalani’s comments came after the Government of Uganda contracted Chinese construction companies to execute the construction of Karuma power dam. Apart from the Karuma project there’s also the ongoing construction of the New Jinja bridge, and several roads projects. However on many occasions some of the contracted companies have been importing the construction materials which the local steel companies say denies them the oppotunity to sell their products. Commenting on the performance of the sector in the previous year, Lalani said there has been growing competition in the steel sector alongside wider markets which in turn led to massive investment in production technology in the sector. “Over the last few years the competition in the steel sector has also grown tremendously which has led to more innovation, product differentiation and the importance of brand equity and awareness. In order to manage this, we have worked hard to differentiate ourselves from competitors and maintain precision in our product and service delivery. We have invested with the region in mind and enjoy good demand in neighboring countries.” He explained. According to him the growth of roofing’s business has been largely due to the consistency in offering quality products on the market and also professionalism of the company’s staff which is fundamental in the steel sector which supports the construction industry. In 2016, Roofings Group was recognized by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) as the Champion of the Construction Sector for its remarkable contribution to the bustling industry. The company’s plant in Namanve has diversified the products under the Roofings Group portfolio and now offers customers unmatched variety. In light if its initiatives, the company emerged the Overall Exporter of the Year during the President’s Exporters’ awards 2016, receiving the Platinum Award, the highest recognition at the ceremony. The President’s Exporters’ Awards seek to recognize the achievements of companies that continue to work towards a vibrant and dynamic export sector of the economy. Over the years, Roofings has continued to invest in backward integration linkages which has had a strong impact of the value addition in the steel sector. “Previously, we use to import galvanized wire, colored and galvanized coils and rebar. Today we import the basic raw materials and add value to the tune of over 250 %. This type of backward integration and value addition in the manufacturing sector is what will help Uganda achieve her goals of becoming a middle income country by 2040,” Lalani further intimated Despite the big achievements in the previous years, the sector was and is still challenged by the influx of substandard steel products on the market thus the need for the responsible Government agencies responsible for fighting fake products to intensify their surveillance on the Country’s, entry’s so that fake steel products do not find their way into the Ugandan market. “There has been the big threat of sub-standard goods entering into the market, and this has led to various incidents where buildings have even collapsed. That is why we are very proud to be named; Champions In the constructions sector 2016 by Uganda Nation Bureau of Standards (UNBA), With Roofing’s, the consumers can rest assured that their structure will stand the test of time. Our products are also clearly labeled and identifiable in the market,” he said.
The local producers argue that many contractors import materials which affects the development of the local steel industries despite the fact that their locally made steel is of international standard