SEATINI Holds a Stakeholders’ Meeting to Review Post COVID-19 Economic Policy Reforms
Since last year, SEATINI Uganda with support from Common Wealth Foundation (CWF) and Urgent Action Fund (UAF) Uganda has been implementing a project titled; ‘‘Strengthening Voices of Micro and Small-Scale Entrepreneurs in the Post Covid-19 Economic Policy Reforms’’. The project aimed at enhancing Micro and Small-scale Entrepreneurs’ (MSEs) capacity to monitor and demand for accountability on the post COVID-19 stimulus package; and enhance their capacity to influence the post COVID-19 economic policy reforms. On 31st January 2022, a stakeholders’ meeting was organized to assess the performance of this project and to generate recommendations towards making the Post COVID-19 stimulus packages work for the intended beneficiaries.
This meeting which marked the end of the project was attended by women and youth Micro and Small-scale Entrepreneurs from the Northern, North Eastern, Eastern, South Western and Central Uganda regions of Uganda, representatives from Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Civil Society Organizations, media among others.
The Women and Economic Justice Program Associate, Joanita Nassuna at SEATINI Uganda, in her remarks noted that SEATINI Uganda has realized that different regions have different needs and therefore called on the government of Uganda to recognize the different needs of Micro and Small-scale Enterprises across different parts of Uganda and tailor the stimulus packages to their needs. Additionally, she recognized that there has been some level of effort by the government in regarding to making the various stimulus packages work for intended beneficiaries, however, more still needs to be done. She therefore called on government to address the existing gaps in the different stimulus packages to make them work for MSEs. She reiterated that this will support equitable accessibility of these stimulus packages by MSEs.
During the meeting, MSEs appreciated SEATINI for her efforts in raising awareness among MSEs about post COVID-19 recovery programs such as stimulus packages which has enabled a number of MSEs to benefit from these packages. Godfrey Mangeni from the Micro Finance Support Center (MSC) noted that the Emyooga funds is still operational as it is a five-year program and therefore called on MSEs to apply for the same. He also informed the meeting that the earlier stringent requirements were revised and thus called on MSEs to apply for the same.
Hon. Jane Avur Pacuto, the Deputy Chairperson, Parliamentary Committee on Finance commended Micro Finance support Center for the efforts they took in reviewing the criteria for accessing Emyooga Funds as they were very stringent for an MSEs to meet and the package was tarnished by several inconsistencies frustrated its operationalization.
Innocent Tushabe, the Regional Programme Coordinator, from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development commended SEATINI for raising awareness of MSEs especially women and youth on the available stimulus packages. \He informed the meeting that women have not adequately benefited from the different government programs.
As part of her presentation, Ruth Kashaga, a development specialist at Ministry of Local Government (MoLG) took participants through the Parish Development Model focusing on pillar 3 of financial inclusion.
The meeting offered a platform for various MSEs to share their experiences in accessing and utilizing the various post COVID 19 stimulus packages.
Akiidi Olanyii, a tailor from Lira district noted that her SACCO applied for the Emyooga funds and followed all the procedures properly and the money was deposited on the SACCO account which members borrowed and added in their businesses. She further noted that they are in the process of applying for the second disbursement.
Manjeri Nabiirye a Community Development Officer at Nakawa Division confirmed that in Nakawa they have registered successes ever since the training on stimulus packages that was organized by SEATINI as they got more members applying for the emyooga funds as well as following up on their applications.
At the end of the meeting, a number of recommendations were generated and will be shared with relevant institutions for further consideration.