Entrepreneurs in the country have called upon the government to come up with strategies that would enable them to easily acquire loans from banks and other financial institutions.
This follows a report on the current situation of Small and Medium Enterprises which indicated that 88 percent of SMEs remain in the informal sector.
In an interview yesterday, Damien Rukunyu, a businessman at Kimironko market said his experience had showed him that the majority of SMEs fail to sustainably grow due to insufficient capital, and this sometimes leads to their eventual collapse.
He added that substantially financing SMEs would significantly boost the country’s vision of realising a private sector led economy.
Jacky Mbabazi, a businesswoman in Nyabugogo, called upon the government to carry out more sensitisation campaigns on the importance of paying taxes, saying that this would enable more SMEs to move from the informal to the formal sector.
“One of the challenges we face, is the lack of enough skills on how best we can run our businesses more productively,” Mbabazi, who deals in garments, said.
In an interview, yesterday, Eric Rutabana, the Chief Investment Officer of Business Partners International (BPI), that provides investment funds to SMEs in the country, said that supporting SMEs is not as risky as people may think.
“Offering loans to SMEs is not too risky as some banks and financial institutions think,” Rutabana said, adding that BPI goes a step further and provides technical assistance to SMEs to ensure that operations are carried out efficiently and effectively.
Rutabana emphasized that one of the key challenges that SMEs face is the lack of requisite managerial skills to run their business activities.
According to the report, launched by the Ministry of Trade and Commerce this week, showed that in 2004 there were only 9,172 SMEs, but today over 60,000 of them are registered.
The Minister, François Kanimba, said that his ministry would continue to collaborate with other stakeholders to support the SMEs.
“We will continue to work with other stakeholders to promote the private sector as this will enable our country to achieve sustainable development in all aspects of life,” Kanimba said.
He added that the ministry would come up with more mechanisms to help business people access funds from the banks.