14 March 2019

Uganda: SMEs Urged to Partner in Preparation for Oil

Kampala — The Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) must take advantage of prevailing investment opportunities in the oil and gas sector by forming partnerships that will deliver required services, according to Dr Elly Kuruhanga, Uganda Chamber of Mines chairman.

Speaking during a Stanbic Bank enterprise conference in Kampala early this week, Dr Kuruhanga said SMEs must form partnerships to enable them build competitive capacity ahead of the anticipated commercial oil production.

"There is crisis of opportunities in the oil and gas industry because there are so many investment programmes that have been lined up," he said highlighting a number projects such as the pipeline, among others that are expected to come with a number of opportunities.

The partnerships, according to some experts, will ease investment in the sector that is highly capital intensive.

Dr Kuruhanga said the joint ventures may involve companies in one or more countries pointing out that international joint ventures in particular are becoming more popular, especially in capital-intensive industries such as oil and gas exploration, mineral extraction and metals processing.

Mr Stephen Segujja, the Stanbic head of enterprise banking, said it is important that Ugandans ensure that they maximise business opportunities therein.

"The SMEs are eager to be in this space and we are here to support them with the capital they may need," he said, adding that the oil sector, which will attract investments worth $20b will enrich Ugandans up to a tune of $6b.

"It is important to prepare SMEs to help them tap into these opportunities, win contract and be part of the value chain that is going to deliver first oil," he said.

SMEs contribute between 40 and 50 per cent of the country's gross domestic product, which makes them the engine of Uganda growth.

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