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Senior Commercial Officer, Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives addressing participants.

SEATINI-Uganda launched a project themed “Enhancing competitiveness of Agro-based SMEs for inclusive sustainable Development in Uganda” with the objective of enhancing the competitiveness of Agro-based SMEs for inclusive sustainable Development in Uganda. This is to be achieved through supporting initiatives aimed at putting in place an enabling policy environment that promotes SMEs competitiveness, enhance the skills and knowledge of Agro-based SMEs for market penetration and creating a platform for engagement between policy makers, government officials and Agro-based SMEs.

Small and Medium, Enterprises (SMEs) are potential engines of growth for innovation, wealth creation and economic development in Uganda. These enterprises account for approximately 90% of Uganda’s private sector, employ more than 2.5 million people, generate over 80% of the country’s manufactured output and contribute 18% to the country’s GDP. Despite the significant contribution to Uganda’s development prospects, SMEs continue to face a number of challenges which range from limited information on financing opportunities; market opportunities and requirements; relevant legal frameworks; standards requirements e.g. quality mark; legal formalization of opportunities among others. Another key challenge to SMEs is delayed and protracted payments by large buyers which impacts on their competitiveness. This situation has been aggravated by the absence of a legal framework to govern the relationship between sellers and buyers. Most SMEs' cash flow can hardly withstand the burden of late payments yet because of the need to obtain and secure a market for their products, they usually extend credit in the form of delayed payment. Liberalization is another key challenge to SMEs.

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L-R M/s Navuga Regina Prog Assistant at SEATINI-Uganda, Mr Dennis Sebunya CAO Pader District & Mr Benson Otim the Town Clerk Pader District.

In the effort to improve local revenue mobilization and collection, SEATINI-Uganda in partnership with KIWEPI with financial support from USAID/UKAID through GAPP, organized a training for district resource personnel for Lower Local Government officials under the project “Contribute to Equitable and Sustainable Revenue Generation for Improved Service Delivery in Kitgum, Lamwo and Pader Districts”. The target group comprised of sub-county chiefs, sub-accounts and Secretary Finance from each sub-counties. The training emanated as the GAPP funded project is almost coming to an end and therefore it was essential that an evaluation be undertaken to assess the “Then” and “Now” status of the different stakeholders to determine the impact of the project towards the domestic revenue mobilization process.

With the enormous challenges faced in the revenue collection process, the training aimed at determining the progress made by the various district local government officials in overcoming them and thus boost their revenue collections. Analysis made prior to commencement of the project showed low amounts of revenue collections at various local government levels with local collections amounting to less than 10% of their total budgets and this makes the decentralization process complex. However to date, some local governments have registered a great improvement in their total revenue collections while others still lag behind.