Skills Development to Ignite SMEs-PSFU
by James W. Mutabazi
Oct 28, 2008 | 481 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GUEST COMMENTARY

It is widely regarded that for any economy to prosper, it has to have productive and competitive enterprises.

Unfortunately, in Uganda , enterprises do not have an adequate pool of skillful people they need for the efficient and effective operation of their businesses.

While the larger enterprises may have the in-house capacity to further build the skill of their staff or hire internationally, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MS&MEs) have been denied that opportunity because most of them lack the capacity.

In trying to correct this anomaly, Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) has come up with a new program : dubbed Enterprise Skills Linkages (ESL) which will ignite the private sector to play its role as an engine of growth.

Speaking to Journalists in Kampala, PSFU Executive Director , Mr Gabriel Hatega said: “The program aims at improving productivity and competitiveness so that the business community can be better placed to respond to opportunities in the local, regional and global markets.”

The ESL program has been realized because of the good working relationship PSFU has with the development partners, particularly the World Bank. Mr. Hatega added: that “contributions to enterprises and the Ugandan economy [by] ESL underpin the need for accelerated skills transformation for the country.”

Education Minister, Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire, in her remarks at the official commissioning of ESL at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala last week, commended PSFU's-ESL, adding that it has come at a time when the country is in great need for skilled people who will be job creators, not seekers.

“There are so many people who are educated but they lack skills and this has been a source of unemployment. Government is in the process of recognizing people who are not educated but are skillful with letters, so that competence can be based on skills when they are looking for jobs.”. Ms Bitamazire said.

To effect this job, PSFU has contracted Swiss Contract to carry out the skills development in the sub-sectors where criteria will mainly be based on export and growth potential for outreach to rural areas, existing training providers , potential for job creation and opportunity for poverty alleviation.

The sub-sectors include tourism, fishing and fish farming , horticulture (fruits and vegetables) , construction, motor vehicle servicing and repair, and textiles.

Mr. Ralph Rothe, Head, Swiss Contract said the pilot areas are Northern and Eastern Districts and then spread out to the entire Uganda. “Training will run on four pillars mainly: apprenticeship training aimed at developing basic income,” he said, adding that skills upgrading , internship training and enterprise training would be worked upon, as well.

Meanwhile, oil revenues in Uganda have in the past created expectations beyond the possible. In conjunction with continued personal experiences of poverty, and public declarations of economic growth, citizens have found it difficult to trust their government.

Political will has been identified as the critical factor in improving the governance in all countries in which Transparency International has chapters.
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