The Electoral Commission (EC) is still insisting that local firms that have expressed interest printing ballot papers for the 2021 general elections may not offer good services which may create a big problem for the commission.
In September this year, EC awarded the ballot printing contract to foreign companies alluding that they have what it takes to print the papers.
Such companies included UK’s Tall Security Printers, Uniprint from South Africa, United Printing and Publishing from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Adare Sec Ltd from UK and Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company from Dubai.
However, local printing companies disagreed and protested EC’s decision blaming them for not supporting local firms yet President Yoweri Museveni and the Minister of Trade and Industry Amelia Kyambadde have been always campaigning for Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU).
The three local companies struggling for the contract include Picfare Industries Limited, Graphic Systems and Interline Printing Services. In order to push their fight further, the three companies under their umbrella Uganda Printers and Packing Association (UPPA) ran for help in the office of Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA).
In their petition, they challenged EC for knocking out one of them on account that the company had not submitted a delivery schedule for the ballots. They also challenged EC for awarding the contract to foreign companies yet their bidding prices were higher than that of local companies.
This forced PPDA to ask EC to halt the ballot printing contract for the foreign companies. However, given the fact that EC has only 60 days to conduct elections, there is a need for steady fastness in order to beat time.
On Thursday this week officials from the EC met with those from PPDA and the office of the Attorney General to find out the best ways on how the printing of ballots must be done safely.
Sources from the meeting said that officials from EC insisted on using foreign companies which were given the contracts to print ballot papers for the elections because local companies that want to have such contracts have never executed contracts of a similar nature and complexity involved in the printing of ballot papers was never seen in their bidding document.
The meeting is to commence today to come out with a clear solution as far as the matter is conerned.
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