The Uganda Tanzania Business Forum 2019

  • Private Sector Foundation Uganda

Preparations are underway for the first ever two-day Uganda Tanzania business summit starting on 4th September 2019 at Julius Nyerere International Convention centre, Dar-es-salaam under the theme ‘Promoting bilateral trade and investment for growth and sustainable development”. The Forum is organized by the Uganda High Commission in Dar-es-salaam in partnership with PSFU & Tanzania Private Sector Foundation.

The Uganda Tanzania Business Forum will bring together participants from the business communities in Uganda and Tanzania, analysts, economists, legal experts, international organisations, multinational agencies, development partners and leading regional media houses. At this one day private sector led event, key highlights will include extensive B2B engagement opportunities, enlightening presentations and refreshing and informative plenary sessions with contemporary and relevant discussions about how best to exploit investment opportunities and overcome bottlenecks to bilateral trade between Uganda and Tanzania.

At the planned Trade and Investment Exhibition that will be officially opened by the Heads of State, businesses will have the opportunity to showcase their products and services to leading businesses and key public sector officials. Registration and accreditation to participate in the Uganda Tanzania Business Forum and the Trade and Investment Exhibition as well as registration for participation will be managed online at www.businessforum.biz


START Facility Announces First Applicants for Financial Closure

  • Private Sector Foundation Uganda

The Support to Agricultural Revitalization and Transformation (START) facility has announced the first two successful applicants from its first call for proposal, whose proposals have been completed and submitted to Uganda Development Bank Ltd. (UDBL) for financing. One company runs a maize processing plant in Omoro District and the other produces honey and related products in Lira District. The total cost of the two projects is UGX 945 million. In addition to commercial and financial viability, the two companies demonstrate a significant local development impact including new jobs for women and youth – one of the key objectives of the START facility.

Through the technical support of the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) the businesses have been assisted through the project development and structuring stage that includes detailed due diligence, business case analysis and screening, verification of business opportunities, feasibility studies and preparation of business plans, and are now ready to receive funding through the UDBL. The two companies are together expected to receive concessional loans totaling to UGX 660 million from the START Facility.

Limited access to finance is one of the major obstacles to growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are considered high-risk because of lack of or bad credit history and poor business management practices. Often, this perception is grounded in a sad reality. In February 2019, UNCDF carried out a due diligence exercise on 17 shortlisted companies and found that most of the companies lacked the proper financial and business management skills and structures to ensure business survival and sustainability. Out of these only five were identified for further project development to bring them to financial closure. The first two applicants are now ready, and UNCDF will continue to work with the other applicants to become investment-ready.

“Over the past few months we have worked closely with these two applicants to ensure that they have the right financial and business systems and structures in place, to make them investment ready,” says Deus Tirwakunda, START Facility Manager

The investment from the START facility will enable the applicants to scale up operations providing jobs for people within the communities and market for under-utilized resources. The maize processing facility is looking to purchase storage, cleaning and drying equipment while the honey producing enterprise hopes to improve its operations by acquiring better equipment for honey processing, construction of a honey store and vehicle for sourcing honeycomb and distribution.

“We are glad to be announcing the first beneficiaries of the START Facility, we are looking beyond just financing these businesses but will continue to work with them and support them to establish sustainable businesses,” said Patricia Ojangole, Chairperson of the START Management Board.

The START facility not only provides affordable medium-term finance for SMEs engaged in agro value addition but also offers a customized mix of business development services, project development and structuring services to create an enabling environment for a wholesome business to thrive. The two companies will also benefit from business development grants to address any outstanding challenges such as improvement in financial management.

START Facility will be issuing the second call for proposal in July 2019 for entities including companies, cooperatives and association engaged in agro-processing and value addition in Northern Uganda to apply financial support.

The facility is implemented by UNCDF, UDBL and Private Sector Foundation Uganda to support the implementation of the food security and nutrition component in the context of the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) programme. DINU is a Government of Uganda programme financed by the European Union under the overall oversight of the Office of the Prime Minister.

East African Community Secretary General Liberat Mfumukeko concluded his visit to Uganda with a meeting at Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU). PSFU was represented by Mr. Gideon Badagawa, Mr. Jim Kabeho, MS. Barbra Mulwana, and Mr. Stuart Mwesigwa among others.

The purpose of the visit was for the Secretary General together with his team to familiarize himself with PSFU and to understand how we can work together as a community so that we can echo one voice towards economic growth as the East African Community, other than individual states.

The Secretary General also shared his interaction and discussions with African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina in February 2019. “I used the meeting opportunity to seek support in the implementation of the 5th Development Strategy, which he said requires US$985 million over 5 years. He specifically sought support in Agriculture and Industry.”

He further informed us that AfDB will provide more support to Agriculture and Industry and especially Agri- industrialization. Therefore, he emphasized our need to prepare and share bankable projects in those sectors to the EAC Secretariat immediately for consideration by AfDB. A joint team of EAC and AfDB will work on preparing bankable projects for presentation to the AfDB coordinated African Investment Forum in November 2019 in South Africa.

He also mentioned that his visit to Uganda is to further follow up on the implementation of the 5th EAC Development Strategy which was adopted during last year’s EAC Summit. The strategy positions the private sector and industrialization among the EAC’s top priorities. Hence, the need to familiarize himself with the private sector bodies in the Community. He emphasized that it’s very critical to involve the private sector so that challenges of food security, lack of employment can be addressed collectively together with the Governments.

Mr. Gideon Badagawa together with private sector members present applauded the Secretary General’s initiative to meet the private sector, as well as the great opportunities from AfDB. They committed to work closely with EAC to ensure that our bankable projects are presented accordingly and to continuously coordinate with EAC so that we all grow and develop as a Community.

ERA warns landlords hiking tenants’ electricity charges

  • Private Sector Foundation Uganda

Kampala- Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has warned landlords of commercial buildings in Kampala to stop charging tenants electricity prices that are outside the gazetted rates. 
The warning comes on the back of raising concerns pointing to landlords charging tenants outside official tariff guidelines.

In a notice published yesterday, ERA said it had received multiple complaints from stakeholders decrying a hike in electricity charges in commercial buildings.

“ERA [has been receiving] complaints from tenants in commercial buildings, markets and the civil society in Kampala... relating to electricity charges beyond those approved by ERA,” the notice reads in part, warning that this was against the law and those “found engaging in any practice that is inconsistent shall be criminally prosecuted”.

The practice, ERA said, is mostly found among the bulk metering system customers, some of who continue to act outside regulations of electricity distribution licensees.

The notice said, a landlord who is bulk metered and later redistributes to other tenants should charge identical tariffs as would have been charged by an electricity distributor such as Umeme. 
“Unit owners or tenants are supposed to pay based on their actual power consumption as displayed by their sub metres,” the notice said. 
Mr Julius Wandera, the ERA manager consumer and public affairs, confirmed the warning, noting that they had advised landlords to install Yaka metres in each stalls or shops for the consumers to manage their payments.

Ms Florence Nsubuga, the Umeme chief operations officer, yesterday told Daily Monitor they were aware of the practice and have previously engaged some landlords.

For instance, she said, they had encountered resistance from particularly two landlords - who she could not name - but said they continue to insist on overcharging tenants.

ERA’s approved charges for commercial tariffs where arcades and shopping malls fall is Shs686.1.

The warning follows a revelation by Mr Isa Sekito, the Kampala City Traders Association spokesperson, who, during a public hearing organised by ERA, said some landlords in Downtown Kampala charge tenants as high as Shs1,000 per unit.

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