Close to 200 Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Large and Medium Contractors who will be working on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
The MSMEs were selected from the ten (10) districts where the pipeline passes.
The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) has been implementing an African Development Bank (AfDB) project for MSMEs Business Linkages training along the EACOP project. The AfDB and the Government of Uganda signed a US$500,000 grant agreement to finance the capacity building of MSMEs to boost business linkages along the EACOP.
The overall goal of the project was to support local MSMEs along the EACOP to develop capacity and open access to new market opportunities through the creation of business linkages between micro and small medium enterprises together with linkages between SMEs and larger national, regional, or international companies.
The project, which was launched in Mubende District in January 2021, has seen over 400 SMEs in the EACOP districts trained. Of these, 137 were women and youth-led enterprises, according to a statement by the PAU..
The statement quotes Martin Byaruhanga, team leader of ESTEEM International Consultants, who undertook the Business Linkages training for the MSMEs, as saying that the programme surpassed the set targets of the number of MSMEs trained and partnered with the large contractors.
“A total of one hundred and thirty-eight (138) MoUs were signed between between Micro and Small Companies with fifty (50) medium-sized companies against the targeted total of 50 MoUs, thus, exceeding the target by 88 MoUs (276 percent),” Mr Byarunga explained.
Under the second cluster, a total of 41 MoUs were signed between medium-sized companies and large companies, against the targeted 20 MoUs, thus, exceeding the target by 21 MoUs (205 percent).
Gloria Sebikari, Manager Corporate Affairs, says that the signing of the MoU is a clear indication of a growing recognition of the important role that MSMEs play in the development of the oil and gas industry in East Africa. “With the support of the AfDB and the Government of Uganda, capacity-building initiatives and business linkages, training will be provided to more MSMEs”.
The PAU declares that the MoU is a significant step towards the development of a sustainable oil and gas industry in East Africa.
“It is anticipated that more MSMEs will come on board, leading to further growth and economic development. The PAU and other stakeholders are committed to supporting local entrepreneurs and ensuring that they benefit from the oil and gas industry”, the authority explains.