SMEs to Government: Help Us Or Forget Middle Income Status

Small scale entrepreneurs have urged government focus more attention on developing small scale enterprises, remedy if Uganda is to attain the targeted middle income status by 2020.

This call was made on Monday during the official opening of the 7th western regional Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) trade fair in Mbarara.

At the event, entrepreneurs asked the UPDF’s Operation Wealth Creation chief coordinator Gen. Salim Saleh to engage government more on how to support small scale industries.

Kaddu Kiberu, the board chairman UMA noted that for Uganda to attain this ambitious target, regional trade has to be balanced, so that all countries benefit fairly from the expanded market.

Only though enhancing local production by supporting small scale business will Uganda be able to achieve this, added Kiberu.

“Mwalimu Julius Nyerere warned us that there would be no East African Community when there is trade imbalance: We cannot be a middle income country when we still export extremely less than what we import,” he said.

“Uganda at the moment imports goods worth $660 million from Kenya and exports only $150million to the same country.”

At the event, Geoffrey Baingana the Chairman Banyankore Kweterana Cooperative Union urged the government to put emphasis on raising Uganda’s coffee production again as was the case decades ago.

“As Banyankole Kweterana , we export 150 containers of clean coffee every year and each container has 20 tons and every kilogram of clean coffee is sold at UGX 9000. If government supported us and we increased our output, the economy would benefit a lot more.”

The chief guest, Gen. Salim Saleh assured the small scale entrepreneurs that government still has them in its priorities and that the president is aware of their challenges.

He encouraged entrepreneurs in Mbarara district to utilize Mbarara Industrial Park in Makenke, which still has a lot of space.



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