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TOUGH TIMES FOR ENTREPRENEURS: Here’s How Ugandan Laws are Killing New and Small Businesses

MPs in a parliamentary session. Courtesy Photo
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TOUGH TIMES FOR ENTREPRENEURS: Here’s How Ugandan Laws are Killing New and Small Businesses
Opinion: Bruno Ignatius Namisi

Ease Entry and Operation of New and Small Indigenous Enterprises | By Bruno Ignatius Namisi

Uganda’s unemployment rate is by far one of the highest in the region. Statistics indicate that between 60 and 70 percent of the entire population of Uganda are unemployed.

This by far has very many direct and indirect impacts including increased insecurity and abetting corruption, once analyzed deeply.

It is therefore very important that Uganda finds a remedy to minimize this ever increasing challenge facing the country.

Furthermore, during his recent address to parliament on the 16th of March 2023, the president of Uganda pointed out the inability of the committees entrusted with the implementation of the Parish Development Model to deliver on their tasks.

In fact, in his speech, he confirmed that some of the eligible Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) had received the cash.  He however reiterated the need to hold the money on the Accounts through which it had been disbursed.

I got confused about this statement wondering whether it makes economic sense.

However, like any optimist, I concentrated on the other side of the coin, and I felt that maybe the president is right because many of these beneficiaries are not yet ‘ready’ to operate.

This is because they lack many of the operational requirements by law and design! Moreover, I also thought about the program that I am trying to undertake.

Through this concept called the Youth Entrepreneurship Skilling and Development Program, I would wish to help young people start up their own enterprises while they are still at school.

We envisage fighting unemployment as well as making some more strides in socio-economic development of the country through this program, targeting students at higher institutions of learning.

However, when one looks at the procedure of becoming a fully-fledged enterprise in Uganda, there are more limitations and bureaucracy that would demotivate new entrants!

The requirements by financial institutions, whose checklist must be met 100 per cent, the licensing authorities, and now the NSSF Act which requires that all employees must be registered with the Fund, make starting a new venture out of consideration for young people who do not have a lot of cash on them.

I therefore appeal to all stakeholders including lawmakers to reconsider these requirements. The private sector is one of the best avenues through which Uganda can minimize unemployment, as well as overcome socio-economic challenges facing the country.

Let’s not enact laws on the basis of emotions. We should get into the habit of getting on ground, get facts before we move on. We should also endeavor to revise some of the requirements for new and small enterprises, to enable their smooth operations.

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