Over 100 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in Uganda are set to benefit under the SWITCH Africa Green (SWITCH AG) which has been developed to support African countries in their transition to an Inclusive Green Economy and in promoting a shift to more Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) p
By Charles Etukuri
Over 100 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in Uganda are set to benefit under the SWITCH Africa Green (SWITCH AG) which has been developed to support African countries in their transition to an Inclusive Green Economy and in promoting a shift to more Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) practices and patterns.
SWITCH Africa Green is an EU funded programme implemented by United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). It’s being implemented in six countries which include Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mauritius and South Africa. In Uganda one of the projects is being implemented by Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA) and the Uganda Cleaner Product Center.
Addressing the SME on Wednesday, USSIA Executive Director John Walugembe said that the purpose of the project was to see African countries transit towards a greener economy.
“We want to support the local SME not to pollute the environment and also become energy efficient,” Walugembe said. He also said that this would go a long way into ensuring the companies save and hence increase their profits.
“We also intend to create awareness among the locals in the country and people need to know that the products being manufactured locally should be consumed by them locally,” Walugembe said.
He also said that USSIA planned to engage the Government to enact laws that will protect the environment. One of those USSIA was proposing was the Green Procurement.
Walugembe said that the Government was the largest local spender and under the Green Procurement, they would be requested to allocate a certain percentage into purchasing sustainable products.
Under the project USSIA in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme will train 100 small scale enterprises in the 4 industrial sectors of food processing, textiles, handicrafts including leather crafts and metal fabrications including foundries. By the end the SME will recognize the benefits of the sustainable product innovation approach and energy efficiency techniques and over 40% of those trained will demonstrate.
Walugembe said that USSIA would engage the SME’s in capacity building sessions, industrial training, how to manage greener businesses and design new products that are green.
“We will later on help them to market the products,” Walugembe said. He said that they would share their experiences with the other African partners.
Different stakeholders at the meeting also expressed their fears saying they were not benefitting from Government. However a representative from the Uganda Manufacturers Association Godfery Ssali who is a Policy Officer urged the SME’s to register their businesses in order to benefit.
“Some of you have been complaining that the Government you are not benefitting from Government contracts but there is no way the Government will agree to give you a contract when you are not registered and not paying taxes,” Ssali said.
He urged all the SME to take advantage of the TIN registration drive currently being conducted by the Uganda Revenue Authority.
SME set to benefit under the EU funded Green Project