The outbreak of Covid-19, brought economic stress in the country and due to prolonged lockdown, most small-scale companies have suffered losses thus prompting some of them to close business.
In a move to revive the affected small scale businesses in the energy sector (off-grid solar fand cookstove), Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) in partnership with GIZ Energizing Development (EnDev) Uganda have launched a Covid-19 Economic Relief Fund.
The project is aimed at boosting the resilience firms that were affected by Covid-19.
The research made in September 2020 by Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) on the Impact of Covid-19 on Uganda’s businesses states that over 80,779 people lost their small businesses while 331,399 employees who were working in large firms lost their jobs permanently.
According to Executive Director PSFU Gideon Badagawa who was represented by Eng. Geoffrey Ssebuggwawo in a webinar meeting on Thursday, the Covid-19 Economic Relief Fund is also aimed at providing support to solar and cookstove companies.
“The fund is to help maintain current levels of access to energy. To support companies to survive the crisis and to build resilience for future challenges. I take this opportunity to thank the funders and it’s my prayer that companies who will get these benefits maximize them so that they survive in this existing covid-19 crisis,” he said.
Firms wishing to put in their proposals can submit them through 3 windows. The first window is COVID-19 Relief, under this window funds will be provided purposely to mitigate the loss of energy access in Ugandan households and the loss of energy access companies in times of COVID-19 by temporarily covering the payments of instalments for customers and covering companies’ expenditures.
The second window is Boost Resilience. Under this, companies will be given the opportunity and funding to do investments into their company infrastructure for production and distribution as well as other areas that support upgrading their mid-to-long-term resilience.
And the third one is Training Upgrade which will be aiming at paying Associations and other training entities in the energy sector fees for the participation of energy company staff. These pieces of training will have to comply with the Standard Operating Procedure or be virtual altogether.
The overall project budget is approximately EUR 900,000 (Shs3.94Bn). Companies and institutions can apply for a ticket size in the range of EUR 15,000 (Shs 65.7m) to EUR 100,000 (Shs438.5m) and the application of the company has to detail the activities and services the financial support is required for.
Proposals of the companies and institutions will be revised by fund Manager and will decide upon eligibility of products and services that can be financed. The overall budget per company will be defined accordingly.
According to PSFU coordinator, Brenda Biteete applicants can pick their application forms from PSFU website.
The funds will be provided by the Germany Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) while PSFU will implement the project. The project will run from November 2020 – March 2021, however, the deadline for application is 30th this month.
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