BY SAMUEL NABWIISO
Although Uganda launched the buy Uganda and Build Uganda (BUBU) policy that tends to promote the consumption of locally produced goods and services, the scheme has not yet favored Ugandan Women Entrepreneurs at both government and the private sector levels.
According to the Information available at the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL) there is no statistical data to show that women are taking advantages of these positive government policies, especially when it comes to bidding for government tenders as its stipulated in the BUBU policy.
Nakiyaga Regina, a board member of UWEAL told the East African Business Week (EABW NEWS) “for Uganda Women Entrepreneurs to effectively participate in bidding for government contracts, there is need for government institute specific policies/interventions targeting women like what their counterpart in Kenya have done”.
“In Kenya the government came up with the 30% specific reservation scheme that is reserved for women when it comes to government contracts/tenders. Our government should borrow a leaf from Kenya to offer special reservation of 30% of all government contracts to women so that they can effectively participate in public bidding for government contracts” She explained.
She noted that failure by the Ugandan Women Entrepreneurs to effectively participate in public bidding, to supply goods and services, greatly affects the development of the small medium Enterprises, of which Women constitute the largest percentage, thus the need to support women since, government spends about 60% of its expenditure in the procurement of goods and services.
In Uganda its estimated that women constitute 51% of the country’s population and constitute about 50.1% of the labor force. Meaning that women form the back bone of the country’s economy, therefore, are potential for Uganda to meet its development goals, especially in the areas of micro-small and medium enterprises.
Statistics from the ministry of trade indicates that women owns about 33.8% of business in Uganda but majority have not expanded due to many challenges that affects their effectiveness, participation in markets due to unfavorable environment.
Why are Ugandan women entrepreneurs not successfully winning government tenders, to supply goods and services to ministries and other government autonomous agencies? According to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA), the factors are quite many ranging from lack of capital. Most women business are still in the informal sector.
Moses Ojambo, the Director, Capacity Building and Advisory Services at the PPDA told UWEAL members during a capacity building training in Kampala, on how to successful bid for government bids, that most women entrepreneurs lack capacity when it comes to bidding for government contracts since, they require bidding securities. Also majority of their businesses are not legally registered with government.
“You cannot win any government tenders if your business is not legally formalized with relevant government agencies such as Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), even being registered with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), that is they need to legalize their business before embarking on bidding for government tenders” He said.
However, he promised the women in business that the PPDA in collaboration with UN Women and UWEAL shall carry out national capacity building trainings targeting women entrepreneurs in the country to empower them with skills on how to bid for government tenders.