By Michael Kanaabi Dollar
Post Bank Uganda has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises Uganda (FSME) geared towards empowering small and medium businesses in the agricultural value chain.
Under this partnership, Post Bank has contributed 80 million Ugx towards empowering small business owners along the agri-business value chain while FSME brings it’s expertise to help small and medium agri-businesses remain resilient and sustainable.
“This is part of Post Bank’s drive to give back to the community in which it operates by ensuring small businesses in the agri-business space are equipped technically to improve on product quality, financial management and also operate more efficiently” says Julius Kakeeto Post Bank’s CEO.
The Bank has chosen to partner with the Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises Uganda on this initiative to train and empower these businesses given the organisation’s proficiency in Skilling, bringing together and empowering SMEs Kakeeto notes.
How will it be done?
John Walugembe the Executive Director of the Federation of Small and Medium EEnterprise (FSME) applauded Post Bank for it’s commitment to empowering businesses operating in the value chain of the agricultural sector. He said, “ This initiative will go a long way in helping agri-businesses recover from the damage caused by Covid 19 lockdowns and also contribute towards bringing more Ugandans into the money economy.”
With more business owners and operators trained to better manage their finances, improve the quality of their products and operational efficiency, small agri-businesses will have greater access to credit and other incentives from both the government and private sector that will help them grow walugembe added.
This project kicks off immediately and will pioneer in 4 districts to be covered that is Mbarara where milk producers will be the focus group, Lira where the focus will be on maize producers, Arua for honey producers and Kampala for juice plus other agricultural products.
Data collected by the FSME federation which boasts a membership of over 734000 businesses in Uganda shows that 11% of businesses across the country closed due to the effects of the Covid 19 lockdowns.
Walugembe the Federation’s Executive Director also noted that another 22% of businesses across the country had to sell off key assets like vehicles, buildings etc just to mitigate the effects of Covid 19 and stay afloat all of which emphasizes the need for this initiative.
The focus of this initiative is geared towards businesses involved in value addition to create more opportunities for growth in agro processing and not necessarily those in Primary production he added.
Going forward Post Bank plans to roll out this initiative country wide after the pilot phase according to Priscilla Akora, the Bank’s Head of Marketing and Communication.
“Given our wide branch network across the country with new branches slated to open in Kireka, Ntinda, Nsangi and Manafwa soon, we aim to impact as many businesses across the country and will continue rolling out this initiative based on the feed back we get from the first 500 businesses we plan to reach out to in the initial phase” she concluded.
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