CSOs Call for the Review of the Stimulus Package to Address Fiscal Needs of MSMEs:
As a way of cushioning Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, in April 2020 Government of Uganda put in place the economic Stimulus Package with an objective of supporting MSMEs and other business enterprises that were hit hard by the pandemic and were struggling with major cash flow challenges.
SEATINI Uganda, Oxfam in Uganda, Argidius and Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises have asked government of Uganda to review the Stimulus Package in order to address the fiscal needs of MSMEs.
Addressing journalists on Sunday 25th April 2021 at SEATINI Uganda Offices, CSOs and representatives from the Private Sector emphasized that whereas government put in place a Stimulus Package targeting MSMEs and other business establishments following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Stimulus has not reached the intended beneficiaries.
Joanita Nassuna, the Program Assistant Women and Economic Justice at SEATINI Uganda noted that findings from SEATINI’s research reveal that the stringent requirements have curtailed access to the disbursed funds/Stimulus Package.
‘‘Of the 1 trillion Uganda Shillings that had been committed by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Uganda Development Bank received a disbursement of 455 billion in mid-August 2020. In January 2021, the Uganda Development Bank stated that it disbursed up to Shs242 billion to vital sectors and Shs 192 billion was disbursed to struggling businesses in primary agriculture, agro-industrialization and manufacturing. However, according to a Call for Applications issued by Uganda Development Bank (UDB) earlier this year, the Bank is not lending out money below sums of 100m to enterprises,’’ Nassuna, said.
John Walugembe, the Executive Director for Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises urged government to review and address some of the challenges that are hindering MSMEs from accessing and benefiting from the Stimulus Package.
CSOs called upon the government to develop a comprehensive Stimulus Package to resuscitate businesses and the economy at large.