Stephen Segujja, Stanbic Bank Head Enterprise Banking.

700 SMEs benefit from Stanbic Bank conference on oil and gas

As Uganda prepares for the development stage in the Oil and Gas sector, Stanbic Bank has hosted the second edition of the Enterprise Conference which focused on providing a platform for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) to exchange ideas on how SMEs can tap into Uganda’s nascent Oil and Gas.

The second edition of the annual Stanbic Enterprise conference was at Hotel Africana Under the theme, “Unlocking the Oil and Gas opportunities for local Enterprises”. The conference aimed at providing a platform for the sector.

Launched last year, the Enterprise Conference brings together entrepreneurs to share experiences on how to grow their businesses and retain sustainability.

Speaking at the event, Stephen Segujja, Stanbic Bank Head Enterprise Banking said, “As Uganda becomes an Oil and Gas producing nation, it is important to ensure businesses maximize the opportunities therein.

“The SMEs are eager to be in this space and we are here to support them.  Uganda’s oil and gas sector is expected to attract investments of about $20 billion with about $6 billion expected to be retained into Uganda’s economy.

“ It is therefore important to prepare SMEs to help them tap into these opportunities, win contracts and be part of the value chain that is going to deliver first oil.”

He added, “Ugandan SMEs contribute 40 -50% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) making them engines of growth that account for up to 99% of Ugandan businesses.

“There are 250,000 registered SMEs in the country but most of these are informal and lack the tools to keep them sustainable. This is why as a bank we have this annual conference to address some of the challenges facing business.”

According to the 2014 Industrial Baseline Survey (IBS), titled, “A survey to foster opportunities for Ugandans in the Oil and Gas sector”, Uganda’s petroleum sector will generate 100,000 to 150,000, direct and indirect jobs.

“The survey identified limited information, lack of skills, poor infrastructures, and administrative bureaucracy among others, as some of the barriers that would hamper Ugandans from working in the sector.

“It also revealed that only 25 industries of the 420 surveyed in Uganda had high potential to supply the sector.

Tony Otoa, the Head of the Stanbic Business Incubator said, “We have been running a training facility for SMEs for a year now that equips businesses with skills needed to be sustainable while preparing them to participate in the Oil and Gas sector.

“So far, we have seen over 500 entrepreneurs from over 150 businesses benefit from the incubator. Many of these have shown impressive growth in terms of finances and compliance while others have expanded operations.

“This is proof that our local businesses are capable of taking up opportunities in the sector and should therefore not be left out but rather should be empowered.”

Over 700 businessmen attended the event which also saw a panel of 5 Oil and Gas experts discuss opportunities in the sector.