Finance minister Matia Kasaija has urged the private sector to take advantage of the opportunities for business presented by the oil and gas industry.
Kasaija said this while addressing members of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum. This was during a recent oil and gas convention held under the theme 'Suppliers roadmap to operational excellence'.
Kasaija cautioned that unless the private sector prepares themselves and understands the requirements of the sector they would face problems of capacity, quality, quantity and managing competition.
Kasaija cited an example where in 1978 he got a deal to supply 4,000 goats to Saudi Arabia. "I did not know they wanted white goats, ages between 6-18 months because a person wants to slaughter and eat it all".
"We raised 2,500 goats of different colours some were 15 months old, others had horns and beards. When the goats reached they were rejected. We lost money in that deal because we did not know what the market wanted," Kasaija recollected.
Ashis J. Thakkar, chief executive officer Mara Group in a key note address backed the minister saying there were plenty of opportunities for the private sector.
Thakkar said if the private sector businesses are to be successful they have to focus on building their governance structures.
He said the mindset of entrepreneurs should focus on doing good which he said will make a difference in the lives of many people. "Success needs to be measured by the lives impacted not the wealth one accumulates," Thakkar said.
On the question of how to raise capital, he tipped entrepreneurs that they have to try non- traditional sources of finance such as banks. "There are pools of capital out there willing to work with the private sector as long as the proper governance structures are in place," Thakkar said.