SEATINI Holds Policy Makers Dialogue on the Stimulus Package
On 19th March 2021, SEATINI Uganda held a Policy Makers’ dialogue on the stimulus package as a follow up on a series of activities that have been undertaken as part of SEATINI’s efforts towards making the stimulus package work for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). This dialogue brought together officials representing Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives; Members of Parliament and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
While giving opening remarks, Joanita Nassuna, the Program Assistant, Women and Economic Justice Program at SEATINI Uganda emphasized that the COVID 19 crisis deepened the already existing vulnerabilities among MSMEs especially women-led MSMEs.
According to Justine Ayebare, Senior Economist at the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, government is finalizing on the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Fund which is expected to cater for the Small and Medium enterprises whose plight have not been fully addressed by the existing stimulus packages. She later acknowledged the fact that small and medium enterprises are still facing challenges in accessing funds/credit earmarked for the stimulus package.
As for Mbazira Hassan, the Manager, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, UWEP, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Department, the Stimulus Packages should be redesigned to address the vulnerabilities of both men and women.
Hon. Charles Ilukor, Member of the Parliamentary Committees on Finance and Budget called on the relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies in charge of the Stimulus Package to give accountability on how the funds have been utilized.
On the other hand, Hon. Jane Avur Pacuto, the Vice Chairperson, Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Planning and Economic Development emphasized that government entities entrusted with the funds for the stimulus package should utilize the component of operational funds given to them to disseminate information on how to access the funds and the nearest point of access.
Below are some of the key issues raised during the dialogue;
• More than UGX 1trillion has been released for the Stimulus Package as follows; Uganda Development Bank got funds in two phases (455bn and 103bn); Emyooga got 416bn to boost the Youth Fund and Women Entrepreneurship; Health got 170bn specifically for emergency and COVID 19 response; UDC got (38bn and 100bn) to cater for the Public Private Partnerships; Arrears got 450bn and 223bn; and Micro Finance Support Center got 50bn additional funds inorder to reach the targeted beneficiaries to receive the Stimulus Package;
• Information about the Stimulus Packages should be translated in a number of languages that can be understood by all categories of people;
• In designing government projects and programs, the communities should be involved and consulted;
• Government needs to create awareness about already existing stimulus packages.
SEATINI continues to engage with relevant stakeholders to influence a supportive policy ecosystem for MSMEs and to make the Stimulus Package work for MSMEs.