SEATINI Uganda holds meeting on Making the Stimulus Package Work for MSMEs:
On 4th March 2021, SEATINI Uganda with support from Commonwealth Foundation held a meeting for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to share their experiences in accessing the stimulus packages provided by the government following the COVID pandemic. The meeting was also aimed at raising awareness about the existing stimulus packages.
Mr. Africa Kiiza, Programme Coordinator at SEATINI Uganda in his opening remarks expressed concern regarding the accessibility of the various economic stimulus packages provided by the government to support recovery of businesses and the economy from the impacts of Covid-19. He reiterated the need for government to address the existing challenges associated with accessing the stimulus packages especially by MSMEs.
Ms. Immaculate Ndagire, the Programme officer, Agricultural Trade for Rural Transformation at SEATINI Uganda on the other hand elaborated on the eligibility criteria for enterprises to access the different stimulus packages. Some of the requirements for a business to access the different stimulus packages include;
- The enterprise should be registered in Uganda and owned by Ugandans with exceptions to projects of a very strategic nature in terms of development impact;
- The Enterprise can be a startup or existing business seeking to expand;
- The enterprise promoter must demonstrate feasibility and viability of the project/Business
- Compliance with all statutory requirements
- The enterprise should have social, environmental and economic viability
- Owners’ equity contribution of between 10% and 60% may be required depending on project specifics and risks.
- Owner’s collateral is required depending on project specifics and risks.
- Loans will be secured using any form of acceptable collateral
- Other provisions in the Bank’s credit policy shall apply.
During the meeting, Women-led Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises shared the difficulties in accessing the stimulus packages especially at the local level. Some women entrepreneurs expressed that reached out to their local governments but they were told that the funds were not available and some government programs like ‘‘Emyooga’’ are marred with a lot of bureaucratic procedures.
Mr. Mbaziira Hassan from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development encouraged women to apply for the stimulus packages because the funds are available and accessible through the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme. On the other hand, he also acknowledged the fact that there is need for increased sensitisation and information sharing on how to access the available funds.
Mr. Walugembe John, Executive Director at Federation for Small and Medium Enterprises, called on government to rethink the process of accessing the stimulus packages to enable MSMEs to benefit from the same given that they make up over 90% of Uganda’s private sector.
Hon. Jane Avur Pacuto, Woman Member of Parliament in her closing remarks encouraged MSMEs to legalize their businesses so that it gives them more opportunities for growth and expansion.
SEATINI Uganda is committed to working closely with MSMEs towards influencing favourable policy ecosystem.