MUHANGA — The Private Sector Federation’s (PSF) outreach programme known as the Business Development Service seeks to bolster the competitiveness of local businesses entities.
Muhanga is one of the districts which have benefited from this intervention.
Eric Gakuba, the BDS-Muhanga manager says the business environment has radically been transformed as a result of this programme.
“The success of our intervention is attributed to the working relationship we have with the key programme stakeholders. We work as a team and business operators seek our free services constantly,” Gakuba says.
Historically, Gitarama residents say that they have had problems doing business. It was always believed that to conduct business successfully family ties was very critical.
As such a culture of not buying commodities from migrant traders was part of the business environment. Since the BDS set up shop in Gitarama a lot has changed.
“There is a positive change and entrepreneurs have moved from selfish closed attitudes to embrace a more open culture a move which has been inculcated by the BDS services since we moved into town,” says Gakuba.
Gakuba notes that there is increased forms of collaboration between business operators and local authorities. They encourage people to forge business related associations and cooperatives for the purposes of making them more competitive.
BDS intervention within Muhanga has been diverse. In Nyamabuye Sector, most of the commercial disputes (over 300 cases) have been resolved through the BDS committee.
According to Gakuba, BDS provides free services to its members to improve their operational competitiveness.
BDS services include offering training sessions on taxation, accountancy, writing project proposals, and empowering traders with English language skills among other.
The BDS centre has also helped rural traders get access to necessary trade information. However, Gakuba says more needs to be done in order to empower traders make long term investments.
One of the BDS’s major interventions has been to pool local resources to develop investments in the district. Thus district officials and the business community have formed the Muhanga Investment Group with plans to invest in various sectors of the district’s economy.
Due to such measures being instituted by BDS Muhanga Gakuba believes that Gitarama can be a trade hub for the Southern Province, because of its abundant business opportunities.
As such business operators now firmly believe that BDS in Muhanga can be used as one of vehicles through which traders can propel their businesses to higher levels. The authorities have taken note of this encouraging trend that the next national taxation day is set to be held here.
For Gakuba, the future of business in Muhanga is bright.