Steel pro­duc­ers de­mand more mar­ket

East African Business Week - - NEWS/ADVERT - BY SA­MUEL NABWIISO

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

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