State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization, Anite Evelyn urged Small and Medium Sized Enterprises to explore regional and international markets to grow during the Top 100 gala dinner at Hotel Africa on 1st December 2022.
She made the remarks while giving her address as the Guest of Honour at the event organized by Daily Monitor, KPMG, Uganda Investment Authority and dfcu Bank.
She said: “As the Government, we are deliberate with our support to SMEs and Investors, because to fight unemployment, we need more entrepreneurs and job creators. We want Uganda to be the number one investment destination in Africa. The only way we can achieve that is by encouraging entrepreneurs such as you.”
“The President isn’t only promoting regional integration but the African market and international markets. The East African market has 300 million people, that’s a large market pool for you to play in. Do not focus only on our borders, look beyond Uganda. We decided to dedicate two years to promote only domestic investors.”
The Uganda Top 100 mid-sized companies’ program has been running since 2009 with the objectives of identifying Uganda’s fastest-growing medium-sized companies that display business excellence and showcasing some of the country’s most successful entrepreneurship stories.
The survey was organized this year under the theme ‘creating synergies and sustainable business models sufficient for accelerated growth.’ This year saw over 100 SMEs recognized, and special categories for companies that exceeded the Shs25 billion turnovers graduated into Club 101. This is an exclusive club of the former top 100 that has surpassed the ceiling revenue cup of 25 billion in annual turnover.
Speaking at the event, Mathias Katamba, the Chief Executive Officer, of dfcu Bank reiterated the bank’s commitment to serving the SMEs in Uganda in their quest to become multi-national companies. He said the bank has the financial, resource and human capacity to help SMEs advance.
“As dfcu Bank we are pleased to be part of the SME Top 100 initiative for the sixth year running. This initiative resonates with us because it brings to the forefront the outstanding achievements of some of Uganda’s most successful and dynamic companies. Uganda is one of the fast-growing entrepreneurial countries in the world and through the Top 100 initiative, we are certain that these entities will be able to improve many businesses, empower people and benefit from alternative sources of financing,” Mathias Katamba remarked.
He added that “dfcu Bank is committed to supporting your businesses, not only in continuing to trade as is but also in providing access to finance for the investment required to support SMEs in their journey toward a long-term prosperous future.”
Among the challenges faced by SMEs include; high taxes, competition from substandard products, stringent credit terms, insufficient start-up capital, and delays to pay debts, among others.
Ibrahim Mbosa, Assistant commissioner for Public and Corporate Affairs, at Uganda Revenue Authority, reassured the SMEs of the regulator’s support in helping them become tax compliant to benefit and grow in the long run.
“We are undergoing a revolution, gone are the days when we were harshly reminding you to pay taxes. We are becoming more friendly so that you can comply. We want to put a human face to taxation. We have embraced technology; we welcome you as SMEs to also utilize them,” he urged.
Despite the strides, we have a mountain of tax collection given to us by you; that is to collect over 25.5 trillion shillings this year. We have about 2.7 million taxpayers, yet the population is high, and the tax burden is on a few that is why we need to widen the tax base. To do that, we have to work together, we want to have honest conversations on how we can work together as enablers of growth,” he said.