Ugan­dan women ask for ten­der changes

East African Business Week - - FRONT PAGE - BY SA­MUEL NABWIISO

KAMPALA-UGANDA ---Uganda Women En­tre­pre­neur s wants the gov­ern­ment to re­view the coun­try’s Public Pro­cure­ment and Dis­posal of Public As­sets Act and come up with new pro­vi­sions that en­able women to com­pete for public con­tracts equally with men.

“Each year Gov­ern­ment spends tril­lions of shillings in the pro­cure­ment of goods and ser­vices to sup­pli­ers through gov­ern­ment pro­cure­ment mar­ket ,but only 1% goes to Women Based or­ga­ni­za­tion to this ef­fect more needs to be done by gov­ern­ment to in­te­grate women based busi­ness into the sup­ply chains that is why we need new pro­cure­ment Law which at least guar­an­tee 10% of

the mar­ket to Women and other spe­cial In­ter­est groups such as youth and peo­ple with dis­abil­ity” Dr Gudula Naiga Basaza the Chair of the Uganda Women En­trepreneurs As­so­ci­a­tion Lim­ited (UWEAL) said re­cently

UWEAL thinks the cur­rent rules are of­ten com­plex, bur­den­some and costly that they dis­suade women-based or­ga­ni­za­tions from par­tic­i­pat­ing in ten­der­ing. This in spite of the fact that the gov­ern­ment is the largest spen­der.

Basaza said many busi­nesses be­long­ing to women are col­laps­ing be­cause they can­not pen­e­trate the busi­ness /mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able in most gov­ern­ment In­sti­tu­tions such as min­istries, au­tonomous agen­cies thus re­main­ing the mercy of the un­de­vel­oped pri­vate sec­tor as sole con­sumer of their ser­vices and goods but on many oc­ca­sion the mar­ket is not re­li­able when it comes to pay sup­pli­ers.

UWEAL with about 10000 mem­bers spread coun­try wide, the or­ga­ni­za­tion has tried to train its mem­bers on the ba­sic of do­ing busi­ness this has helped to at­tract Re­gional de­vel­op­ment part­ners such as trade mark East Africa to com­mence sup­port­ing the As­so­ci­a­tions with fi­nan­cial grants such that Women can par­tic­i­pate in the re­gional mar­kets in the East African Com­mu­nity Coun­tries.

Re­cently in 2015 UWEAL man­aged to se­cure sup­port from Trade­mark East Africa worth $497,750 to fi­nance trade pro­ject like Uganda Women in Trade a, re­gional trade de­vel­op­ment pro­gram which aims at im­prov­ing and in­creas­ing the busi­ness com­pet­i­tive­ness

The pro­ject tar­gets about 4,400 Women from Light pro­ces­sor and Women Ur­ban Traders in the East African re­gional mar­ket.

How­ever for such pro­ject to yield pos­i­tive results to Women En­trepreneurs in the Coun­try, the Do­ing En­vi­ron­men­tal Le­gal regime should be con­ducive to Women in their mother coun­try to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­vi­sion of ser­vices and goods on the public mar­kets be­fore they con­sider mar­kets in other coun­tries in re­gion.

Some of the ma­jor ob­sta­cles which are hin­der­ing the UWEAL mem­bers to ef­fec­tively par­tic­i­pate in the public pro­cure­ment mar­kets in­clude the pre-qual­i­fi­ca­tion which makes it bar­ri­ers for Women to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­cure­ment process.

“In many cases Women en­trepreneurs are dis­suaded from the pro­cure­ment process be­cause the reg­is­tra­tion and pre-qual­i­fi­ca­tion process are too com­plex too long or they do not meet some of the pre­qual­i­fi­ca­tion re­quire­ment” The chair­per­son told the East African Busi­ness Week as UWEAL pre­pares to cel­e­brate the Month of Women En­trepreneurs (MOWE).

Other chal­lenges is as­so­ci­ated with the re­quire­ment for the Au­dited fi­nan­cial ac­counts ac­cord­ing to Gudula it’s among the big­gest chal­lenges to women En­trepreneurs, she said Many Women are In­ter­ested to trade with Gov­ern­ment but have not been trained in the ba­sics of ac­count­ing to prop­erly main­tain their books and records and to have them au­dited as re­quired by the Law in the pro­cure­ment process.

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