Tuesday, November 15, 2016 

Ugandan women ask for tender changes

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.

In order for such bottlenecks to be checked to ensure that Women based organization( Business enterprises  ) can also participate in the offering of services and goods to government , UWEAL urges government to  permit  Women Owned  business  to prequalify  for groups  of contracts  for  certain categories  of goods  and services , furthers more appoint  and empowering  of gender  focal persons  at ministries  and parastatals  to champion the gender equality a gender.

Apart from asking for government to come up with Legal reforms regulating the public procurement UWEAL will also continue training its members on specific business skills during the MOWE such as how to register Business name, financial management, among other relevant skills.

“We are partnering  with some  Government Agencies and private sector to see that our members are equipped with Business skills as we  wait  government to review the  procurement Laws some of the agencies we intends to work with include private sector foundation Uganda Registrar services Bureau , Uganda revenue Authority among other Institutions in the government” she said.     

By Samuel Nabwiiso, Tuesday, November 15th, 2016