The Central Bank of the East African Community (EAC) is exploring ways of transforming and integrating the East African Payment System (EAPS) and linking it to other payment solutions across African continent to enable secure transfer of monetary values across the continent in both retail and wholesale values.
“With that system in place, Ugandans will be able to receive money from any African continent sent in any currency on their mobile or bank account. This will supplement the African trade and further support the growth of the continental enterprises,” said deputy Governor Bank of Uganda Louis Kasekende.
While speaking Tuesday at the launch of the Absa Group Small and Medium Enterprises Academy (SME), Kasekende said the plans by the EAC Central Bank to integrate the EAPS to other African states payment systems are in advanced stage and will soon be rolled out which will enable Ugandans to easily send and receive money across Africa.
“This will supplement the African trade and further support growth of the continental enterprises,” he said
Kasekende while commenting on the status of SMEs in Uganda noted that there was a great need for structural transformation and formalization of SMEs if they are to have access to affordable financing like capital markets.
According to him, the greatest challenges to SMEs growth in Uganda include access to affordable financing, corruption and unfavorable tax rates.
While giving a key note address at the same event where over 70 SMEs that will be part of the first three months training program, Emmanuel Katongole, executive chairman of Cipla Quality Chemicals limited encouraged the business owners to embrace formal and proper business practices to be able to compete favorably locally and international
“Start small but have bigger dreams. Also be passionate about your business and don’t be scared to seek out bigger partnerships” he said
According to data from the ministry of trade, current estimates suggest that about 160,000 SMEs are in existence and contribute 20% to the national gross domestic product and employ about 2.5 million people.