By Prossy Nandudu
Processors of leather into final products are to receive specialized training following the purchase training equipment and machines by PTA bank to address the skills gap in the leather sector.
The equipment is part of the 75,000 dollars grant from PTA bank to promote the leather sector in Ethiopia, Uganda and South Sudan.
It is part of the he Institute's resource mobilization efforts, to support three well organized Incubators, the Uganda Leather Association,Ethio-International Footwear Cluster Cooperative Society) and Sudan Science and Technology University by allotting 75,000USD for the purchase of tools and equipment.
This was revealed by Wycliff Bbossa, Director Portfolio management at PTA Bank recently in an interview with the Newvision.
"Through the initiative, more than 500 SMEs in the leather sector will be able to access equipment and tools in addition to skills to enhance their productivity, said Bbosa.
In Uganda, the equipment will be stationed at Management Training and Advisory Center (MTAC) and will benefit those in need or have some skill but need more training, who will have formed clusters.
This means that MTAC will act as an incubation center for small and Medium Enterprises (SME's) into leather processing.
"Forming clusters is important because some people already have some skills while others don't have so clustering them along that line leads effective training," Bbosa.
Bbosa explains that they will inject in 25,000 dollars at MTAC and in addition financing experts from Ethiopia who already have experience in leather to help Uganda's leather sector to grow.
The COMESA region has an abundant supply of livestock which calls for more action to unlock the opportunities as has been done in other regions and countries, added the bank's president Admassu Tadesse.
"We will continue to do our part to support resource-based best industrialization in the region, in a disciplined and well considered manner," said Admassu Tadesse.
In Uganda, there are about 11 million cattle but what is goes to waste is more because a few that are used for making drums can be traced but the rest are left to rot.
Minister of state for Industry, James Mutende explained that the training facility will improve the skill of Small and medium enterprises making leather products to make better and competitive products to tarp into the regional markets.
East African community has a total population of about 125 million people while COMESA region has about 500 million people which is a huge market for leather products if they are of good quality.
"Without quality and following the standards required, we cannot compete on the global market whose taste and preferences are changing every day," said Mutende.
Sector player responds
Soul Kityo a leather technologist by training and a member of the Uganda leather and Allied Industries Association, explains that currently there is a training center for foot wear and leather and leather boot manufacturers but these come out without some practical skills due to lack of machinery.
"The center will provide additional skills which are more practical such that when a student is leaving they already have a business modal to help them in their work," said Kityo.
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Leather SMEs to be incubated at MTAC thanks to PTA bank