OVER 743 small and medium enterprises (SMEs), have undergone specially packaged capacity building, which is crucial for contracts in the oil and gas sector.
The beneficiaries were drawn from Central, Northern, Western, and Eastern regions of Uganda. In terms of individuals, a total of 1660 people were trained in sessions held in Kololo (Kampala), Mbarara, and Hoima, the epicenter of the oil and gas activities.
Dubbed the Business Incubator, the imparting of skills, is the result of a collaboration between Uganda National Oil Company Limited (UNOC) and Stanbic Bank, one of the leading financial institutions.
UNOC and the Bank early this year inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate the activities. Overall, the ongoing program is preparing SMEs for lucrative opportunities in Uganda’s oil and gas sector.
Accordingly, the lessons include financial management, business planning, and analysis. Others are customer care, strategic thinking, branding, and marketing. The list also includes teamwork, leadership skills, communication, presentation skills, and preparing winning bids.
Thus far, said Stanbic Business Incubator Limited, Program Coordinator, Lyndah Kamasaka, the training has culminated in funding and access to new markets, increased jobs and revenue for some SMEs.
These, and more, will continue to be the program’s focus so that beneficiaries access funding, markets and increase profitability, Kamasaka added.
Indeed, some of the above were among the benefits UNOC CEO, Ms. Proscovia Nabbanja and counterpart, Patrick Mweheire mentioned at a signing ceremony in Kampala on February 5th, 2020.
Then, the two leaders reiterated their commitment to local content and, development of SMEs. Local content refers to the participation of indigenous people and companies in provision of services and goods to the sector.
“We are pleased to be partnering with UNOC in this critical initiative that aims to facilitate the participation and development of national content in the oil and gas sector. Oil is a game-changer in many economies and the only way we can benefit as Ugandans is if we have as many local companies participating as possible,” stated Mweheire.
The UNOC CEO said that the institution would offer “capabilities”, which would boost the beneficiaries’ potential to participate and benefit from the sector.
“Partnerships with institutions like Stanbic are instrumental in promoting national content through providing training and information on the opportunities for local businesses in the oil and gas sector,” she stated.
“UNOC will provide subject matter experts to support the development of businesses on the Enterprise Development programme and also provide support to the Stanbic Business Incubator Centre’s training and research activities in Enterprise Development.”
In conformity with the local content, she stressed, the law ring-fenced for Ugandans provision of certain services and goods. This, thus, improves opportunities for Ugandan companies to participate in the sector. Uganda’s confirmed petroleum resource, situated in the Albertine Graben, is estimated at 6.5bn barrels. Of these, 1.4-1.7bn barrels are recoverable and await the final investment (FID) decision before development and production. It is estimated that about US$16bn will be invested in the sector during this phase. The Business Incubator started in February 2018 as way of, among others, supporting SMEs boost their potential. Intent on further ensuring local content, and as key player in the oil and gas sector, in February 2020, the partnership with UNOC, started. Shortly, because of the COVID-19 challenge, the sessions have since gone online. The second intake for this year kicked off in September and will be online.