President Yoweri Museveni has pledged government support to engineers in their effort tocontribute to the development of the country.He noted that stakeholder engagement is also a key component of Corporate Social Responsibility which should be managed well if the desired success in any project implementation is to be achieved.

Museveni made these remarks in a speech read for him by the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, during the opening of the 22nd National Technology Conference at hotel Africana in Kampala. It was organized by the Uganda Institution of Professional Engineersunder the theme, “Stakeholder Management: Key to the success of Engineering Projects”.

PM Rugunda (4th R) in a group photo with the 22nd NTC participants at Hotel Africana. On PM’s (R) is Hon Eng Monica Azuba Ntege and UIPE President Dorothy Akello on PM’s(L). 2ndR is Hon Eng Hillary Onek

The National Technology Conference is a key platform for dissemination and sharing of engineering knowledge, innovations, solutions and promotion of science. It brings together a number of people including engineers, technologists, technicians and students among others.

The Presidentnoted that stakeholder management is crucial for the success of any project or undertaking. ‘As Engineers, you are aware that stakeholder management is a critical component to the successful delivery of any project, program or activity’, he noted adding, ‘It is therefore critical to involve people who may be affected by the decisions the project managers make, or people who may influence the implementation such projects’.

He added that there was need for engineers to increase local content in the infrastructure sector programmes. The President also asked engineers to enhance capacity building by undertaking training to acquire skills toclose performance gaps in the sector.

Museveni noted that engineers and project managers are entrusted with huge amounts of public resources and therefore it was important that they acquire knowledge and skills to manage it. ‘Poor stakeholder management will greatly affect the performance of any project financially as well as hinder its successful completion’, he said.

On his part, the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda asked the participants to embrace professionalism by doing quality work as well as use the conference to close gaps existing in the sector. ‘Let people who do poorquality work be held liable so that others also learn from them’, he said.

The Minister of Works and Transport Engineer Monica Azuba Ntege called upon the engineers not to work in isolation but to engage stakeholders. ‘Engineers need to understand stakeholders’ expectations as a requirement for proper management’,she said.

PM Rugunda inspects one of the exhibition stalls during the 22nd National Technology Conference at Hotel Africana (Photo by PMPU)

She noted that engineers were ready to make their political contribution in support of vision 2040 in all their undertakings to ensure that Uganda transforms into a modern and prosperous country.She however called upon them to embrace training opportunities available in public service to enhance capacity building.

The President of Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers, Dr. Engineer Dorothy Okello said the Engineers play a critical role in the transformation and development of the nation and thus the need to engage with stakeholders. ‘All the 13 key core projects identified by vision 2040 as necessary for Uganda’s transformation into a modern and prosperous country, require a direct link and contribution from the Engineering sector’, Okello said.

She added that all ICT infrastructure, large irrigation schemes, standard gauge railway, oil road networks, referral hospitals and urbanization among others, require significant engineers’ contribution to takeoff.

The Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers was established in 1972 with an aim of promoting general advancement of science and practice of engineering and its applications. It has over 3500 members.

The two days conference was attended by a number of dignitaries including Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness Eng Hillary Onek, delegations from Federation of African and East African Engineering organizations among others.