Stakeholders in the banking sector say financial literacy and skills development should be prioritized in efforts to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) recover from covid-19 frustration,
Speaking during the Signing of MOU btn Post Bank and Federation of small and medium sized enterprise, Julius Kaketo, the managing director of Postbank notes that it is necessary to enhance SMEs in Entrepreneurship skills and value addition to boost the quality of the products to attract a good market.
Under this arrangement, Post Bank has earmarked 80 Million shillings to support over 500 SMEs in the areas of Arua, Mbarara, Lira and Kampala in acquiring technical knowledge and market.
Reports shows that during the lockdown, Majority of micro and small businesses, particularly in the service sector, registered slow progress while others closed.
The Post bank’s CSR activity will be conducted under the theme Yongela Ko Omutindo. It is aimed at equipping SMEs countrywide with value addition and financial literacy skills.
“This year we decided to focus on our financial literacy and skills enhancement pillar, because of the many disruptions in the SME space. These disruptions were influenced by recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and rise in the price of commodities among other related challenges. SMEs are critical to the growth of Uganda’s economy; therefore, we chose to invest in their sustainability and growth,” says Julius Kakeeto, the Managing Director/CEO, PostBank Uganda while signing the MOU.
Kakeeto asserts that with this arrangement, marks the start of an amazing journey with FSME, while empowering communities.
According to him, the trainings will be done by experienced trainers from FSME, and each training will run for 5 days.
John Walugembe, the Executive Director for the Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Uganda FSME, reveals that each region will have a training specific to its challenges. “For Arua, the training will be in post-harvest handling and packaging of honey & honey products. Lira will focus on good manufacturing practices, hygiene, and mandatory product standards by UNBS.
Mbarara training will be on hygienic and quality milk production and diversification in dairy products and finally Kampala will be on quality, safe and value-added opportunities for farmer groups and mid-sized fruit dealers.”
Walugembe adds that about 11% of SMEs closed as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns while over 20% sold off their household assets.
John commends PostBank for realizing the gap and coming onboard to address the many issues SMEs face. “This partnership with PostBank will go a long way in reviving SMEs for their development.” he says.
The SMEs will train in entrepreneurship & value addition, financial literacy & investment readiness, how to access appropriate technologies, product certification, branding and market linkages, to mention but a few.
All participants will be awarded certificates at the end of the training.