Business

Eskom to Plant 30,000 Trees in Busoga

The Latest World Bank report on “Ease of Doing Business in Uganda 2015” has ranked Uganda 150th out of 185 countries, ed http://charlesdunn.com/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/currency.php an improvement by 2 places compared to the 2014 ranking.

This marginal improvement is attributed to aggregate efforts of the government to ease trade across borders, pills resolving insolvency, generic access to credit and extension of electricity to many parts of the country especially the rural areas.

However, the same report also indicates retrogression in some of the benchmark indicators and this, cumulatively, continues to scale up the cost of doing business in Uganda.

For example, on starting business indicator, Uganda’s ranking increased from 162nd (2014) to 166th (2015), getting electricity 181st (2014) to 184th (2015), registering property 120th (2014) to 125th (2015).

This improvement means that Uganda needs to intensify efforts at creating robust and favorable environment – especially for small and medium enterprises as a panacea for millions of rewarding jobs in Uganda.

Recently, a paper published by Agency for Transformation  and Uganda Small Scale Industries Association shows that the World Bank index is not centered on small businesses- this must be rectified by Uganda launching its own SME’s doing business perception index.

Yet, according to the Bank of Uganda Sector Report (2009), Small and Medium enterprises (SMEs) contribute significantly to economic development through job creation, widening of the tax base, innovation, and the competitive disciplining of markets.

This justifies why developed, developing and emerging economies like Uganda have continued to recognize SMEs as a major economic entity, and SME performance as an opportunity for accelerating the country’s economic growth.

Most Ugandans either own or manage SMEs either as formal or informal enterprises. Yet Uganda has one of the highest business mortality rates because of the high costs and other attendant rigors of starting and later on operating an enterprise to a break-even point.

Whereas both Government and non-state agencies continue to explore ways of engagement to support SMEs through efforts like microfinance access, business formalization and advocacy, SMEs that form the bulk of trade continue to suffer the shocks of high costs because they are not insulated by the advantages of economies of scale that are enjoyed by the large scale industries.

For example Agency for Transformation (AfT), a Kampala based Think and Do Tank with support from USAID-GAPP-RTI is currently engaged in dialogues with SMEs owners in the districts of Mityana and Mubende. The dialogues are aimed at strengthening the oversight role of the local  governments to improve integrity and reduce the cost of doing business.

However, thus far, these dialogues show that it is becoming increasingly difficult to start and maintain a business especially in the rural areas. The local entrepreneurs described the escalating costs of doing business and the repulsive local government bureaucracy as one of the main issues affecting their businesses.

Government agencies that offer key services to these enterprises like the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URBS) should decentralize their services to make them accessible especially to rural based SMEs. This would for example greatly reduce both the direct and indirect costs related with registration of businesses in rural areas.

More so, this can also promote the formalization of many SMEs that operate informally and this in turn benefits the economy through the widening of the tax base among others. Otherwise it makes no economic sense for a struggling entrepreneur in Mubende district to spend on transport and accommodation and travel all the way to Kampala for an otherwise simple exercise of registration and formalization of his business. This not only erodes the profit margins of such a business but it also impedes business growth.

There is also the problem of high tariffs on water and energy. The high cost of energy in Uganda diminishes competitiveness of our products and services. Thus, our local market gives way to cheap products from China, India and South Africa where the same goods and services are produced more cheaply because of lower tariffs on water and energy.

The entrepreneurs need to be supported with cheaper alternative sources of energy like bio-mas, solar energy and others especially for the cottage industries which do not require high electricity consumption. SMEs make up 90% of the entire private sector, so any efforts directed towards supporting this sector of the economy has both backward and forward benefits to the overall economy.

By Doreen Namuyanja, Program officer, Agency for Transformation,  dnamuyanja@agencyft.org
A three year tree planting initiative by electricity generation company, recipe http://dayacounselling.on.ca/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php Eskom Uganda Limited in partnership with the Kingdom of Busoga was launched yesterday.

The initiative expected to cover the entire Busoga region in this period in a phased manner has piloted on Igenge hill, sildenafil http://concursofotografia.orihuela.es/wp-includes/simplepie/iri.php the seat of the Kingdom.

“This project speaks to the core of our strategic business objective risk and environmental management as well as the infinite quest of our corporate social responsibility initiatives, pharmacy ” said Ms Nokwanda Mngeni, Eskom Uganda Limited Managing Director.

“Like the Kingdom of Busoga, Eskom is and shall remain committed to bettering the environment in which we all live and work if we must survive, even thrive,” she added.

The entire project, whose objectives include encouraging communities to conserve and protect the planted trees, shall cost over 75 million shillings – net of overhead administrative, implementation and monitoring costs.

“Conserving the environment through tree planting is more than a mere event. It is about protecting and nurturing the natural biodiversity for the sustainability of our livelihood,” Said the Kyabazinga in a message read on his behalf by the Kingdom Governing Council Chairperson Dr. Joseph Muvawala. “If we do not have trees, the weather pattern shall be affected, crop yields diminished and water bodies depleted,” he further warned.

Over the next three years, Eskom Uganda Limited through its implementing partners RUTI Association – a local organisation of women and youth dealing in plant seedlings – shall roll out the initiative to all parts of the Kingdom.

Speech by Eskom Uganda Limited Managing Director, Ms Nokwanda Mngeni

  • The Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament
  • Members of Parliament
  • The Busoga Chiefs’ Royal Council
  • The Chairman Busoga Governing Council and your distinguished members
  • The Busoga Lukiiko
  • Local government officials in your respective capacities
  • Staff of Eskom Uganda
  • N’abantu ba Busoga Mwena Mwena 

Khodeyo!!

Today, I am privileged and over joyed in leading my team – partnering with you our longstanding hosts to this symbolic launch of a tree planting initiative that will see us plant thousands of trees across the kingdom over the next 3 years.

At Eskom, we are not your usual business where it’s all about work- profits, work -profits. Our business attitude is tethered firmly on responsible corporate behavior and care for our environment. Indeed, one of our five core business objectives is ‘enhanced environmental management’. I wish to state here that the movement towards a deeper commitment to environmental protection through planting new trees and taking care of the existing ones, is rapidly increasing all over the world. Rather than allow to be left behind, we at Eskom have in fact chosen to lead, where we can, this movement locally.

At the global level, trees and forests are closely linked with weather patterns and also the maintenance of a crucial balance in nature. Unfortunately, the statistics on forest cover for Uganda point a bleak future. The destruction of forests and other woodlands is on a steady increase. This is occasioned by among other factors rapidly increasing human population and the related human activities for survival.

There must however be concerted efforts to sustainably use this natural resource without depleting it. Indeed, while on one hand you have all watched with horror the devastation of our neighbours in the Bududa area; if we look around some parts of the country, we can now see that some trees have been planted where the ground was previously bare. That’s commendable but a lot more should and can be done.

As Eskom our modest contribution to this noble but uphill initiative is to sink close to 30,000 trees within a three year period across the vast Busoga Kingdom. Today, as we launch this drive, we are sinking over 8000 trees on this hill, Igenge alone. The entire project, whose objectives include encouraging all of us in the respective communities to conserve and protect the planted trees, shall cost over 75 million shillings – net of overhead administrative, implementation and monitoring costs. This project speaks to the core of our strategic business objective risk and environmental management as well as the infinite quest of our corporate social responsibility initiatives. Like the Kingdom of Busoga, Eskom is and shall remain committed to bettering the environment in which we all live and work if we must survive, even thrive. While we are partnering with RUTI association to do the actual planting of trees; we encourage each one of us to do like the Rt. Hon. Speaker and I and all these distinguished guests have done – get down and dirty and plant a tree; posterity will thank you.

In Uganda, I have been told that one of those appeals we are most reluctant at heeding is the plea to plant a tree wherever you see a hole in the ground. I am here to add my voice and lead by action; wherever there is a gap let’s fill it up with a tree. That’s the only sure way we can guarantee the future of this great heritage that Busoga is, our beloved country Uganda and our motherland Africa.

Kyabazinga afuvuwale! Mwebale eino!

Eskom officials with Speaker Kadaga at the Launch

Eskom officials with Speaker Kadaga at the Launch

 

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