SMEs trained to tap into oil and gas opportunities

By Our Reporter

Hoima: Several hundred small and medium enterprise (SME) owners have been recently placed in a better position to win contracts along the proposed East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) after completion of a capacity-building training program delivered by Stanbic Business Incubator Limited (SBIL).

The pipeline will go through the districts of Hoima, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Gomba, Mubende, Lwengo, Sembabule, Kyotera, and Rakai before crossing into Tanzania.

SBIL’s Chief Executive Tony Otoa said this is one way of ensuring Uganda’s economic growth is realized, and the key to this is supporting local enterprises by building their capacity to ensure they compete for contracts to supply Uganda’s oil and gas sector.

Totaling 130, the SME owners were trained in practical business development, linkages to financial services through Stanbic Bank, and business formalization by representatives from the National Social Security Fund, Uganda Revenue Authority, and the Uganda Registration Services Bureau, among others.

While closing the eight-day training for participants from the Bunyoro sub-region at Kabalega Resort Hotel in Hoima, John Tumusiime, the Hoima District Commercial Officer, said that when organized in associations, business people will easily be more connected.

‘’As SMEs, you need to uphold good quality and high standards for all your products in order to capture the market.”

Following the February 2022 announcement of the Final Investment Decision (FID) to develop the oilfields in western Uganda by the international oil companies, a partnership was signed between the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) and SBIL to offer skilling courses for small business owners operating along the proposed pipeline.

The training is one of the three major components of the MSMEs business linkages project being implemented by PAU with support from the African Development Bank.

At the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in 2022, Ernest Rubondo, the PAU Executive Director, said taking up these opportunities will require adequate preparation, and the enterprises will have to demonstrate that they have the required capacity to deliver against sector requirements.

‘’The objective of this business development consultancy, therefore, is to build the capacity of MSMEs along the EACOP pipeline.”

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