The executive director of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) Gideon Badangawa has asked private business owners to learn to work in groups or cooperatives if they are able to access financial credit and global markets.
Mr. Badagawa noted that the private sector in Uganda which is the largest continues to under-perform and unable to create any visible impact because most of them in the informal sector and unable to access credit to expand their businesses into bigger entities that can access bigger markets through exporting.
“In 2 years, Uganda is aspiring to be a middle status country with every Ugandan being able to earn $1000dollars a year. This will be impossible if we do not reorganise the private sector which is largely informal,” Badangawa said.
He added that with the current status of most small and medium sized companies, only a few of them are unable to access large credit from banks and other grants from development partners because of the risk associated with dealing with informal individual businesses.
“A cooperative or a group of farmers would easily access a grant or a bank loan than an individual,” Badangawa said.
He was speaking Thursday at an event organized by PSFU for SMEs that applied to receive grants from the Skill Development facility (SDF) fund that was rolled out at the beginning of this year by PSFU in partnership with the ministry of Finance to provide skills training for large companies, teaching institutions and SMEs with the aim of improving productivity and build capacity for Ugandans especially those in agriculture, manufacturing and construction sector.
According to Ruth Biyinzika, the head SDF, the second window which is for the cooperations, NGOs and associations from informal sector is almost complete with over 200 groups of the 2000 that applied waiting to benefit from the Shs11 billion designated for this cause.
“In this group, we are targeting mainly women and youth groups that are able to train a large number of youth as well as provide employment. We selected enterprises that are able to created positive change in their communities, increase production for export and add value to our local products,” Biyinzika noted.
She further argued the selected groups to follow the issued guidelines and use the money for the right cause.
The SDF received Over $21m about 80 billion Uganda shillings from development partners to help the private sector in improving their skills and productivity as a way of competing favorably at the global market.
So far, only $3m has been dispatched as the PSFU continues to scrutinize groups that qualify for the funds to make sure the funds do not go to waste or get misused.