Uganda Investment Authority profiling Small and Medium firms

By David Muwanga

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) is currently gathering business information from all Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) aimed at building a database.

“Small and Medium scale firms remain Uganda’s engine of growth and they are spread across all sectors with 49% in service sector, 33% in commerce and trade, 10% in manufacturing and 8% in others,” said the Authorities’ director for the SME division Winnie Lawoko-Olwe.

“SMEs are spread throughout the country and they remain the key drivers in fostering innovation, wealth creation and job creation in Uganda,” she said.

She explained that statistics indicate that over 2.5 million people are employed in this sector, where they account for approximately 90% of the entire Private Sector, generating over 80% of manufactured output that contributes 20% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

“However, there exist inadequacies to reach out to all MSMEs in Uganda and fully train them to subsequently achieve effective realization of their full growth potential and contribution to economic development,” she said adding that the division has a mandate to nurture and improve the investment climate for MSMEs.

“This is achieved through profiling and database development, cluster development and business linkages, technical skills training and entrepreneurship training among others,”.

She said the objective of profiling the SMEs is to establish a National Database of the small and medium enterprises with stakeholder mappings and to developing a data bank that provides MSME Artificial Intelligence for National Economic Planning.

“We aim at creating an MSME Marketing and Matchmaking (B2B/B2Cplatform) that will help suppliers find buyers and buyers find suppliers through linkages and to help companies develop their capacity and capabilities using proven tools. UIA also wants to develop a reporting mechanism that helps SMEs to generate reports as may be required by the division, benchmarking through diagnosing and comparing companies against their competition and to support business formalization for SMEs,” she added.

Ms Lawoko-Olwe explained that UIA is seeking information on the nature of business or sector, capital investment, registration status, employment levels among others.

The division will use this information to come up with viable strategic interventions in terms of extending business development services to these MSMEs. 

She said the programme focuses on those that are scattered, isolated, uncoordinated, informally operating but are involved in value addition activities such as textile, shoe making, bakery, soap making. Others are in agro-processing, candle making, art and craft, paper manufacturing, maize processing, fish processing, making sanitary towels, production of jelly, processing of bottled water, oil seed extraction, wine processing, sesame processing, honey processing, fruit drying and packaging, silage and hay production, poultry feeds making, ginger processing, soya milk processing, tooth brush making and paint manufacturing among others.

The profiling exercise has an annual target of 3,600 MSMEs and the activity is carried out on a quarterly basis.

“SMEs that were profiled earlier had created 120,410 jobs and 80% are in priority sectors, the annual revenue contribution to the economy by SMEs facilitated by UIA stands at Sh1.679tn with Sh917.3bn,”.