The chairperson of Uganda Agribusiness Alliance Mrs. Victoria Ssekitoleko has urged authorities should make a deliberate effort to support the informal businesses so that they formalize. For instance, Uganda Registration Services Bureau (UNSB) should help these MSMEs to register and Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) should teach them about (or familiarize them with) the National Standards. Uganda Revenue Authority should only come in when these enterprises have taken off. She said this during an E-Conference: MSMEs Resilience and Recovery in the Face of COVID-19 organized by EPRC and IDRC on 9th September, 2020.

Ssekitoleko a former minister of Agriculture argued that Uganda should establish and implement the Insolvency Policy and Act because many MSMEs are now bankrupt, others have collapsed and others are on the verge of collapse. Such a Policy and Act would be timely in the current dilemma.

 

She also called for a review the current curriculum to prepare women and youth for business. There is merit in ascertaining why some people are dropping out of school so that you can address those challenges and ensure that the student complete school. Other areas that students should receive training in include insurance, capital, profit and interest rates. These matter in business.

Government and non-state actors should undertake efforts to skill those that dropout of school. This will equip them with the requisite skills to start businesses. She revealed further that her research had established that that the majority of the MSME owners are female and youth – but most of the MSMEs are informal i.e. unregistered, licensed and untaxed.

She added that she carried out a policy mapping to identify the policies that could have influenced or affected the people owning the MSME owners in any way. Key among these was the Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) Policies that are spearheaded by the government and in partnership with other non-state actors. Some of the weaknesses of these policies are that they have focused more on “numbers” and not “quality” and they are associated with high school dropout rates.

She observed that the majority of the Children that sit Primary Leaving Examinations are unable to complete education up to S.4 or S.6. Several dropouts end up starting MSMEs, not because they have been trained and skilled to start them, but because they are trying to survive. In other words, the skills and training that they receive is not sufficient or does not prepare them for that kind of work.

She also quoted a study by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics for 2017, which indicated that about 80 percent of the girls (10 – 20 years of age) at that time were likely to end up in the agri-business related enterprises. Based on that evidence she asked,

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