UNBS waives PVoC Surcharges for the Period 25 March to 24 April 2021

Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) waives off Pre Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) surcharges from 25 March to 24 April 2021. The waiver is for importers whose goods are currently at the bond or Mombasa port and those in transit /at sea. This short-term intervention has been implemented to respond to importers who requested assistance to clear their goods stuck in bonds due to financial constraints arising from the Covid-19 pandemic challenges.


What steps do affected importers need to take?

The affected importers are expected to do the following to benefit from the waiver:

  • Sign a commitment form to ensure future compliance to PVoC requirements
  • Avail the goods for compliance inspection and testing to ensure they meet quality and safety standards requirements
  • Pay the destination inspection and testing fees where applicable as per the Import Inspection & Clearance Regulations 2018
  • Commit to subject future consignments to Pre Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) after this waiver period

Affected importers are advised to approach the UNBS Imports Inspection Department at UNBS Headquarters in Bweyogerere immediately for assistance and have their consignments cleared.

The information brief is attached here.


For inquiries, please contact; 

Mr. Abubaker Bakulumpagi: Tel: 0703659073 Email: abubaker.bakulumpagi@unbs.go.ug  or

Mr. Samuel Tumwesigye: Tel: 0704585351 Email: samuel.tumwesigye@unbs.go.ug

Uganda Investment Authority is profiling SMEs to increase access to markets.

Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) is profiling businesses to join the national SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) database. The profiling will provide SMEs with an opportunity to interact with development partners and access markets. Currently, UIA has profiled over 750,000 businesses since the exercise started in November 2020.


How will the SMEs benefit? 

  • Linkages to global and rewarding markets.
  • Access to suppliers and buyers portal.
  • Comparison and benchmarking opportunities.
  • Access to business capacity development training.

Uganda Investment Authority is a semi-autonomous government agency that drives national economic growth and development in partnership with the private sector. UIA mainly markets investment opportunities, ensures local and foreign investors have access to information to make more informed business decisions and offers business support, advisory and advocacy services.

The SME Division (SMED) of Uganda Investment Authority supports and facilitates domestic enterprises’ sustainable development.


How does my business get profiled?

  • You must complete and submit the online profiling form with your business information.
  •  The profiling form is available here. 

For details, visit: www.ugandainvest.go.ug or email: info@ugandainvest.go.ug.

Applications for The 2021 Seed Transformation Program are Open

Stanford Seed partners under their Seed Transformation Program (STP) support entrepreneurs in emerging markets to build thriving enterprises that transform lives. This is a year-long, online part-time intensive leadership program for CEOs/founders of established businesses. The program offers CEOs and their teams skills and tools to drive growth and innovation in their companies. Participants are also challenged to refine their strategy and value proposition and to then set a course for scalable growth and impact.


How will the successful applicants benefit?

Successful applicants will work virtually in small, facilitated peer groups called Leadership Labs. Here they will share experiences, resources and ideas. After completing the program, they earn a certificate of completion from Stanford GSB Executive Education. Other benefits will include;

  • Gaining essential business and leadership skills
  • Bringing up to five senior managers on this transformation journey
  • Joining the Seed Transformation Network
  • Access to seasoned executives as pro bono project consultants
  • Availability of Stanford student interns to work with the companies


Who is eligible to Apply?

Applicants must:

  1. Be a CEO or founder of a company or market-driven social enterprise
  2. Have registered business in Africa
  3. Lead a company with a strong value proposition and potential to grow
  4. Have an annual revenue between US $300,000 and US $15 million
  5. Have a management team of at least two people in addition to the CEO or founder


Educational Requirements

There are no specific educational requirements.

Timeline: Sep 2021 – Oct 2022

Fees: US $5,000 (COVID-19 Discounted Price)

Program Schedule

Part 1 | Assess Your Foundations

Part 2 | Stress-Test Your Finances and Operations

Part 3 | Identify Your Growth Opportunities and Strategy

Part 4 | Build Your Growth Plan

Deadline for application: 15 April 2021

Application Process

Admission to the Seed Transformation Program is very competitive. An admissions committee will assess all completed applications based on the program’s criteria for admission. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so we recommend you apply early.

How to Apply

You must fill out and submit the application online.

The application form is available here.

For details please contact:

Program Manager East Africa on; +254 (0) 72 859 4042 or contactseed@stanford.edu

Visit: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/seed/transformation-program/admission

Jessica Kyeyune, National Content Specialist at UNOC, offers guidance to SMEs on participating in the Oil and Gas Value Chain.

Jessica Kyeyune, National Content Specialist at UNOC, offers guidance to SMEs on participating in the Oil and Gas Value Chain. 

Charity Namala: Good morning, Jessica. Could you tell us about yourself and what you do? 

Jessica Kyeyune:  My name is Jessica Kyeyune. I am the National Content Specialist at the Ugandan National Oil Company (UNOC). The Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) is mandated to manage Uganda’s commercial aspects of petroleum activities and its participating interests in the petroleum agreements. The UNOC roles are specifically to:

  1. Develop in-depth local expertise in the Oil and Gas subsector.
  2. Promote and participate in joint venture initiatives in the Oil and Gas subsector.
  3. Develop the capacity of Ugandan citizens and enterprises in the Oil and Gas subsector.
  4. Champion initiatives to support community contractors’ growth and enable them to provide services and materials to the Oil and Gas industry.

UNOC also ensures value is gained across the value chain segments from exploration, production, export pipeline and refinery.


Charity Namala: What is the current landscape of the Oil and Gas Value Chain in the country?

Jessica Kyeyune:  The Oil and Gas Value Chain is phased in nature, and at the moment, the industry is awaiting the Final Investment Decision (FID).

The value chain projects include exploration, production, export pipeline, refinery, refined products storage terminal and an industrial park. The first oil projects’ exploration was completed, and next will be the development and production phase, which can only begin after the FID is made. The power to announce FID is vested in the Minister of Energy & Mineral Development. The FID will be announced after the joint-venture partners sanction the commercial viability of the first-oil projects.

After the FID announcement, the field development stage will commence, and the country will see its first oil within a 3 to 4 year period. The development phase is the most resource-intensive but shortest stage of all and presents enormous SMEs’ opportunities to tap into. Given its nature, SMEs need to prepare and plan for short term financing and investments.

The construction of the central processing facilities and the related infrastructure and the export pipeline from Hoima to Tanga Port, Tanzania, provides SMEs with opportunities. They will deliver construction materials, manpower, logistics services, food, hotel accommodation and other services. It is important to note that although the country is moving into the development phase, more oil exploration is still ongoing. This will ensure continuity of using the already developed sector infrastructure to ensure commercial viability.


Charity Namala: What kinds of SMEs are participating in the Oil and Gas Value Chain? 

Jessica Kyeyune: There are various SMEs engaged in contracts across the Oil and Gas Value Chain.

We have to remember that for SMEs to benefit from the sector, they do not necessarily have to be directly involved in the Oil and Gas Value Chain. Today, 16 sectors were ring-fenced for Ugandan companies. These are (a) Transportation, (b) Security, (c) Foods and beverages, (d) Hotel accommodation and catering, (e) Human resource management, (f) Office supplies, (g) Fuel supply, (h) Land surveying, (i) Clearing and forwarding. (j) Crane hire, (k) Locally available construction materials, (l) Civil works, (m) Supply of locally available drilling and production materials, (n) Environment studies and impact assessment, (o) Communications and information technology services, (p) Waste management, where possible. These are sectors directly linked to the Oil and Gas Value Chain, but SMEs still can get indirect and induced work along the chain like Mobile Money services, hairdressing, recreation services, and many more.

I can give you an example of this kind of participation. Suppose you own a hair salon, and you are strategically located in or near the Oil and Gas region. Many people working in the Oil and Gas sector will come for a haircut or hairdressing. When a customer pays for the haircut, the salon operator pays her suppliers, employees, landlord, etc. The person who transports the Oil and Gas field workers to the salon equally benefits from the value chain.

I have another example of catering and food supply in the oil camps. A farmer growing tomatoes will indirectly benefit from the Oil and Gas sector by supplying the tomatoes to SMEs that offer catering services directly to the oil companies. This shows the multiplier effect of the Oil and Gas sector for SMEs via indirect and induced participation.

Charity Namala: How is UNOC supporting SMEs to participate in the Oil and Gas Value Chain? 

Jessica Kyeyune: UNOC is implementing the National Content Regulations, which have ring-fenced specific goods and services for SMEs, among other things.  

National Content Regulations give first priority for Ugandan to be contracted for all the Oil & Gas contracts, provided that they have the technical capacity, competence and financing to carry out the contract. In case the Ugandan SMEs cannot participate in the first option, the second option is for a Ugandan company to enter into a joint venture with another company or an international company to provide the service. If the joint venture option fails, then the last option is for the international company to supply the required goods and services on its own.   

National Content Regulations also require the international companies to subcontract all work within a contract that can be done by Uganda companies to Ugandan companies. They also have to transfer knowledge to these SMEs to deliver well on the contracts subcontracted. The international companies conduct quarterly supplier development workshops to support SMEs in understanding the opportunities available and bridge any gaps in required standards. Unfortunately, there is always a low turn up of invited suppliers, but those who attend the workshops have benefited. For example, One SME had never received any contract within the Oil and Gas sector. After attending a seminar held in Hoima on how to enter into partnerships and joint ventures, the company implemented the acquired knowledge. Now, they have a partnership supplying sand to the road construction companies. 

UNOC is set to work with the Petroleum Authority of Uganda to facilitate SMEs business linkages to the East African Crude Oil Pipeline through skills upgrades with support from the African Development Bank (AfDB). We also share a lot of information on our website to guide prequalified suppliers on fulfilling the contracts effectively. 


Charity Namala: What challenges do SMEs participating in the Oil and Gas Value Chain face? 

Jessica Kyeyune: There are several challenges, but the most significant challenge SMEs face is liquidity. 

Most Oil and Gas contracts require significant capital expenditure, and many Ugandan companies may not have the capacity to take them on. To perform the contract, SMEs need some liquidity, which they do not usually have and sometimes cannot quickly get a loan because they lack relationships with their bankers.

The next challenge is related to the “how” of doing business. You find that many people get into a business without the required skills, which compromises business standards. For instance, SMEs could sell food but not follow the storage standards and do not possess the necessary permits for the staff and premises. As a result, they will not secure additional contracts in the sector. 

The sector has many stringent demands as participation calls for additional requirements to supply some goods and services. In the transportation of goods in the Oil and Gas sector, specific gadgets and technologies are required for tracking the goods. This technology ensures that the vehicles being used are in good condition and allow for real-time transportation updates. Many SMEs don’t usually have the technology and expertise required for this.


Charity Namala: What can be done to increase the level of SME participation in the Oil and Gas Value Chain? 

Jessica Kyeyune: A lot of effort is required to increase SME participation in the Oil and Gas Value Chain. 

Let me start with what the Stanbic Business Incubator is doing to build SME capacity and share sector opportunities. UNOC has also partnered with the Incubator to provide additional training for SMEs on up-skilling and upgrading to meet the required standards. This is critical if we want to see SMEs participating.

Secondly, SMEs need financing. The government plans to put an Oil and Gas fund in place to finance the sector contracts’ performance will increase participation. The fund will provide low-interest loans to SMEs for ease of entry in sector activities. SMEs also need to develop good working relationships with their bankers and maintain the necessary financial records to access the required financing. 

Information sharing is also critical for participation. Information is only shared with SMEs registered on the National Supplier Database (NSD). Therefore, SMEs are advised to register on the National Supplier Database to access this information. We also believe several players can support the dissemination of information. Such players include banks, certification bodies, and other private sector players. Apart from receiving information, SMEs need to aggressively search for knowledge and ensure that they are responsive to available opportunities. Most contracts are advertised in the newspapers, yet SMEs ignore reading newspapers, thus missing out on a chance for participation. 

SMEs need to become Information Technology (IT) savvy to search and send information online since many bidding processes and training are happening online. The Covid-19 pandemic effects have shown us that you will lose out if you do not have an IT savvy mindset. Reports indicate that businesses that have embraced IT have actually thrived during this Covid-19 period. These businesses are also likely to benefit significantly in the Oil and Gas Value Chain. 

Lastly, all companies that want to be contracted and subcontracted for the Oil & Gas contracts must be registered on the National Supplier Database of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU). The National Content Regulations state that companies not registered on the NSD shall not be awarded contracts within the Oil & Gas Sector. I encourage SMEs to register online to the NSD for free by logging onto the PAU website to participate as contractors and subcontractors for Oil & Gas contracts.


Moses Kisembo of Shiloh Farms shares how his agriculture business benefits from the Oil and Gas Value Chain.

The Covid-19 Business Info Hub spoke with Stanbic Business Incubator alumni Moses Kisembo of Shiloh Farms to learn how his agriculture and catering business benefits from the growing Oil and Gas Value Chain.

Charity NamalaGood Afternoon Moses, could you tell us about yourself and what you do? 

Moses Kisembo: Thank you, my name is Moses Kisembo. I work with Shiloh Farms Uganda Ltd., an agribusiness company.

We are engaged in developing agriculture projects, mechanizing on-farm activities, agriculture supplies and training. Our products include; agriculture plans, farm establishment services, mechanization services, and training in agriculture standards and compliance. We also bulk high-quality agriculture produce and offer catering services. 

We deliver these services to individuals engaged in farming and those who would like to invest in agriculture but are constrained by expertise and time. We also work with communities through Government projects like the Agriculture Cluster Development Project of the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF).


Charity Namala: What is your level of participation in the Oil and Gas Value Chain? 

Moses Kisembo: Our participation is in the area of food production, supply and delivery. 

We know that workers in the Oil and Gas industry will need to feed every day. The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) indicates that over 160,000 people will work in the oil fields, and these will be followed by over 1,000,000 people. All these people will need to feed. And unlike what we are used to in this country, the food that these people will eat must meet specific standards. 

Therefore, as a company and as host communities in the oil region, we have a crucial role in producing the required food, supplying it following the standards needed, and then delivering it as catering companies in a compliant way.

Together with other partner companies, we are preparing ourselves to meet the anticipated growth in the market. Preparations include; building internal capabilities like hiring the appropriate human resource, skilling in quality, health and safety standards, food safety standards, sustainable production systems and compliance issues. We have also engaged farmers within communities to forge collaborations since it is impossible to do this alone. We advise them on what to grow and how to grow it, focusing on consistency in quality, quantity and supply that meet the required standards. For example, if one is interested in supplying eggs. They need knowledge of the number of birds necessary to consistently produce a certain number of eggs per day. They also need a feeding plan that will enable them to deliver quality and consistency. We support the farmers in this planning and execution process, hoping that some will be our future suppliers. 


Charity Namala: What opportunities does the Oil and Gas Value Chain present for SMEs?  

Moses Kisembo:  There are several opportunities for SMEs, especially in the agriculture and food space.

First, it is essential to note that the Government has a ring-fenced supply of food items to Ugandan companies. The caveat is that “if the Ugandan companies can meet the requirements for quality, volumes and consistency”. If they can’t meet those, then suppliers of food to oil companies will import. Imagine importing beans, maize flour, rice, tomatoes and onions to Uganda. The market is there, the need is there, and Uganda has the potential. But these Oil and Gas workers are not going to eat potential. They need food. So we must organize ourselves and execute while the opportunity is still open to us. 

Opportunities for SMEs cut across the value chain from food production, processing and delivery. There are opportunities for input suppliers, extension services providers, farm services providers, producers of crops and livestock. Mechanization services are critical because they offer efficient and cost-effective options for farmers. It is cheaper to hire efficient weed and pest management services than to buy spray equipment and accompanying specialized labour, given the fact that a farmer will use them only a few times in the year. I advise young people to get organized and offer spraying, weed management, planting and harvesting services to farmers.  

Other opportunities include storage, handling, transportation, processing, packaging, and delivery like catering. SMEs can also offer human resources, accounting, and financial management services to support agribusinesses. When businesses use these outsourced services, they can reduce their overhead costs while accessing high-quality professional assistance. 


Charity Namala: How is your company positioned to take up the available opportunities? 

Moses Kisembo:  We are making preparations, and these started some years ago when we joined the Stanbic Business Incubator program. 

Today, we are implementing activities based on the capabilities we acquired and partnerships established during the program. For example, I had always wanted to offer catering services, but I had no clue how to start. During the incubator training, we met with some colleagues who were already in the catering business. They helped us start our own catering business. Some have helped us in operation safety and health. The catering service is growing, and we are ready to offer the service when Oil and Gas production activities start.

Secondly, we partner with the Stanbic Business Incubator program to offer training to other SMEs in standards and compliance. We are also building more partnerships to enable us to improve our capabilities. For example, we approached one of the leading financial consulting firms – Acclaim Africa, to help us with governance issues. Despite the delays brought on by Covid19, we expect to soon formalize a relationship and benefit from the great products they have tailored for SMEs. 

Through participation in events, accessing bulletins and staying close to organizations like the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) and the international oil companies, to keep abreast with developments in the sector. We are listed on the national supplier database compiled by PAU, which offers many networking opportunities.  

We are working on obtaining international certifications, and in the long run, qualifying to offer auditing services for international standards in food safety. We are also proactively raising awareness in various fora about the looming opportunities and what it will take to access them. These activities have positioned the company to embrace the opportunities available in the sector.


Charity Namala: What challenges are SMEs facing to participate in the Oil and Gas Value Chain? 

Moses Kisembo: The major challenge SMEs face is building internal capabilities and capacity to meaningfully participate in this space.

It requires awareness and adequate resources to identify the gaps and implement measures to resolve them. Secondly, SMEs are used to working on their own, and because they are small, they are unable to take on assignments of such a scale as presented in the Oil and Gas sector. The solution is to collaborate and form joint ventures, which is relatively new in Uganda.

When it comes to acquiring international certifications and going through the process before certification, management appreciation and commitment of resources are required. SMEs need to realize this – which the Oil and Gas industry is like an express-way where only the qualified are allowed to drive. 


Charity Namala: What can be done to increase the SMEs’ participation in the Oil and Gas Value Chain?


Moses Kisembo: Government has put in place the necessary policies and enabling environment for SMEs to meaningfully participate in the Oil and Gas space. 

What needs to be done is to increase awareness and catalyze platforms and fora for SME engagement. This will enable them to identify the opportunities and prepare for them. The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), international oil companies and other stakeholders should continue to organize periodic dialogues and publications that inform SMEs about the sector developments. This information is critical for SMEs to make informed business decisions. 

SMEs need to understand that they cannot do it alone. They need strategic alliances, partnerships, and joint ventures to help them participate more meaningfully in the Oil and Gas sector. 

Finally, we hope that with the existing enabling environment, preparation, resources – if available, and strong partnerships in place, SMEs’ participation will be evident across the different Oil and Gas Value Chain segments. 

Call for SMEs to Join Digital Marketing Launchpad Program

Norwegian Agency for Development (NORAD), in partnership with Africa118, are inviting SMEs to apply for the Digital Launchpad program. The program aims to equip and support African SMEs with a comprehensive package of digital tools and expertise to enhance their competitiveness and access global markets.

What are the program benefits?

Over 3,000 SMEs from participating countries are set to benefit from the program, and they will have access to the following:

  • Financial literacy training
  • Digital marketing training
  • Investment readiness and venture building training
  • Digital marketing campaign
  • Professional website
  • E-commerce + payment integration
  • Access to financing
  • Accelerator program

Who is eligible to apply?

Enterprises that meet the following criteria qualify to join the program;

  • A business entity registered in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Ghana.
  • The business has less than 50 employees.
  • The company has limited digital marketing expertise.
  • SME agrees to be available for the scheduled training, coaching, acceleration, and mentorship training
  • SME agrees to contribute 50% of the cost of services offered in year 2 (about $200) and to shoulder 100% cost of the services provided in year 3 (about $400).
  • SME agree to be in the program for the entirety of the program duration (3 years: 2021- 2023).

Women-led/owned and Youth-led/owned businesses will be prioritized.

How to join the program

  • Eligible enterprise are required to complete and submit an application
  • Application form available HERE

For details about the program, Call: +254 729 905 156

Email: digitalaunchpad@africa118.com

Visit the website: https://digitalaunchpad.africa118.com/



Daniel Kaggwa of Conexus Oil and Gas explains how partnerships can aid SME participation in the Oil and Gas Value Chain

Charity Namala: Good Morning Daniel, tell us about yourself and the company you work with. 

Daniel Kaggwa: Thank you for hosting me. I am Daniel Kaggwa, the Managing Director with Conexus Oil and Gas. Conexus Oil and Gas is a local Ugandan company providing quality-driven services across the Oil and Gas Value Chain. Our core work areas are machine shop services such as; fabrication and precision welding.

We offer testing and certification laboratory services like testing materials, chemicals, equipment, welds and others. We are also undertaking training and certification services in the Oil and Gas sector.

Whilst we are a local company, we have established several partnerships with international companies. For example, we partner with OGINS in India and other global players in Dubai and Italy. The partnerships’ objective is to tap from these players’ experience and knowledge to develop local content in Uganda’s Oil and Gas Value Chain.

Charity Namala: What is the landscape of the Oil and Gas sector in Uganda? 

Daniel Kaggwa: The Oil and Gas sector has three major operational phases.

The exploration phase, which we went through before 2004, led to discovering the oil reserves, followed by the development phase, which is about putting in place the necessary infrastructure to support the third phase of production. When drilling the oil out of the ground starts, the required infrastructure to transport and processes should already be in place. The phases are dependent on each other.

The sector has moved from the exploration to the development phase. This is evident in Hoima District, with a lot of infrastructure development taking place. Contracting discussions with companies are ongoing for further development from the oil fields – upstream to the crude oil pipeline-midstream and the refinery. Many research studies have been done on the upstream and midstream segments. The results will inform the Final Investment Decision (FID).

The Final Investment Decision (FID) is set to happen when the international oil companies and government confirm the project viability and approve capital investment for operations. The FID was earlier anticipated in 2020; however, this did not happen. The significant delays on the FID were due to several reasons, including the Covid-19 pandemic; however, we speculate that the decision will be reached by the end of April 2021 to kick off the several activities. The total expected investment is USD 20 billion in projects split into the production, crude oil pipeline and the refinery.

Charity Namala: What is the nature of SMEs participating in the Oil and Gas Value Chain? 

Daniel Kaggwa: The scope of SMEs in the Oil and Gas Value Chain is wide.

There is room for any SME to take part in the Oil and Gas Value Chain. Participation can be in three areas: specialist oil and gas, specialist (across the sectors), and non-specialist players. The local SMEs have mainly engaged in the non-specialist space. The National Oil and Gas policy encourages SME participation in value chains by incentivizing sector resources and ring-fencing local firms’ opportunities.

Some funds are paid to local SMEs dealing with goods and services to fuel participation in different spaces. Currently, over 1,000 SMEs have provided services across the chain. Some of the services include logistics, civil works, environmental consulting services, catering and hotel accommodation, cleaning and fumigation services, transportation, communication, medical services and manpower/ recruitment services.

Charity Namala: How is your company supporting SMEs to explore the available opportunities? 

Daniel Kaggwa:  We support SMEs through capacity building and knowledge sharing.

We have partnered with the Stanbic Incubator and will soon roll out a programme for 2021 to provide SMEs training, mentoring and awareness workshops. The programme will equip SMEs with the necessary knowledge about the sector. Apart from classroom training, we provide hands-on training through placements for skills acquisition. Our SMEs’ critical training areas are business management, health and safety, and environmental standards. We are also linking the SMEs with other international firms for joint ventures and service provision.

We have established a critical partnership with the Mangala Oil field project in India for knowledge and information sharing. Mangala presents a similar structure and characteristics to that of Uganda. Both countries have waxy and heavy crude oil transported in a heated or insulated heating pipeline. The Mangala pipeline development of 200km is currently the longest heated pipeline globally. Once the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) of 1400 kilometre is completed, it will be the longest heated pipeline. Such information is critical to guide the SMEs on how to engage in the value chain.

Charity Namala:  What policies and regulations exist in the Oil and Gas Value Chain?

Daniel Kaggwa:  Uganda has a robust legal framework to guide operations in the Oil and Gas sector.

We have the Draft National Content Policy and The Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act 2013. The regulations are clear and support local participation, with 16 areas ring-fenced for Ugandans to provide goods and services.

These areas include; Transportation, Security, Foods and beverages, Hotel accommodation and catering, Human resource management, Office supplies, Fuel supply, Land surveying, Clearing and forwarding, Crane hire, Locally available construction materials, Civil works, Supply of locally available drilling and production materials, Environment studies and impact assessment, Communications and information technology services.

Similarly, the policies provide for production sharing agreements through joint venture partnerships with international oil companies. This allows local SMEs to participate in spaces where they would not have had the capacity to deploy independently. The policies also advocate for oil companies to invest in SMEs training and development for compliance.

Charity Namala: What can be done to increase SMEs’ participation in the Oil and Gas Value Chain? 

Daniel Kaggwa: To increase SMEs participation, we need to look at the challenges they are going to encounter.

While we identified training and accreditation as critical areas of participation, finances are needed for implementation. Therefore, it is necessary to establish a fund to support national content development through SME participation. SMEs need to understand contractual obligations and get the appropriate financing to execute the contracts. We are taking steps to work with the SMEs to understand the sector, interpret the contracts, and source appropriate funds.

Participation can be increased by establishing an industry enhancement center to support SMEs through private and government partnerships. SMEs can also embrace joint ventures with international companies that have experience and knowledge in the industry. This will facilitate the transfer of knowledge to the local SMEs, thus empowering them to participate in the value chain’s different stages.

Virtual Workshop on opportunities available for suppliers in the Oil and Gas Sector

The Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) is organizing a virtual workshop for businesses to discuss how National Content and Quality, Health, Safety and Environment Management (QHSE) can be incorporated in the bidding documents. The workshop will highlight different opportunities available to the suppliers in the Oil and Gas Sector. Businesses will also learn about standards and certifications required for goods and services delivery.

The online workshop will take place on 31st March 2021, starting at 10:00 am.

This workshop follows a survey UNOC carried out among SMEs participating in the sector, which indicated the need for more information on incorporating National Content and QHSE in bidding documents. UNOC is mandated to implement the National Content Strategy. To fulfil this, it ensures the bidding processes include local content requirements and comply with the National Content framework.

UNOC has a partnership with Stanbic Business Incubator, which will be presenting at the workshop. The Incubator provides Business skills training to the Oil and Gas Sector suppliers to enhance their bidding process performance. The training focus on governance, compliance, standards, financial management and access to markets. The Incubator also provides networking opportunities plus mentoring and coaching for entrepreneurs.

To participate:

Please find the link with a registration form.  https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=F3Q9QeGKDU2BWYeu67XCCWi5w9hY_bxErbAXmiEhucpUQkFFOFNDSlpGWjNKTkdKVVM1SzFONVRBSC4u

Kindly respond by 25th March 2021 to allow us to effectively plan for the workshop. Note that only those who send in their registration form will receive the log-in information.

For more information about the virtual Workshop: Call +256312444600 or Email: info@unoc.co.ug

Second Call for the Uganda Green Enterprise Finance Accelerator

The Uganda Green Enterprise Finance Accelerator (UGEFA) has launched its second call for applications. The Accelerator targets green Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) looking to grow and scale their businesses.

The Accelerator supports SMEs in customized business development for over 6 months. Enterprises get a chance to participate in interactive workshops, peer-to-peer learning and network with like-minded entrepreneurs. They also have access to practical tools to manage business growth.

How will the successful SMEs benefit?

By participating in the programme, SMEs will get the following benefits;

  • Loan facilitation within UGEFA debt finance pipeline offered through our partner banks
  • Get a discounted loan of between UGX 36,700,000 – 367,000,000 to support investment needs
  • Loan repayment  support of 1/3 of the total loan amount with UGEFA grant contribution
  • Showcase their enterprises during high-level events and ongoing ecosystem building activities


Who is eligible to Apply?

The programme is open to enterprises who are:

  • Registered as a private company or registered partnership;
  • Engaged in a green sector specifically, Clean Energy, Green Manufacturing, Sustainable Transport, Sustainable Tourism or Waste Management;
  • Operational for more than 2 years;
  • Generating revenue with at least 10,000 USD turnover in the previous year; and
  • In possession of financial records

Register here for UGEFA  and submit your complete application. 

Application Deadline: 30th April 2021. 

For details: sign up for an Information Session at https://adelph.it/ugefainfo or email info@ugefa.eu.

Stanbic Business Incubator Chief Executive gives an overview of the opportunities for SMEs in the Oil and Gas Value Chain in Uganda

Ernest Wasake:   Good morning, Comrade Tony Otoa; I hope this finds you well. How have you been holding up during this period of the pandemic? 

Tony Otoa:   Thank you very much for hosting me. I have been great.

I have had a great time of learning, growing and understanding how to do things differently—and now we are getting used to doing different things to make things happen.

Ernest Wasake:  Could you give us an overview of the Oil and Gas Value Chain in Uganda?

Tony Otoa: The Oil and Gas Value Chain is a very vast and intense one. It is a great value chain with many opportunities, especially in the local context.

The chain has upstream, midstream and downstream project segments. The upstream project is about the drilling, construction and civil works. In the midstream project, you have the oil pipeline of 1400-kilometre from Hoima in Uganda to the Tanga Port in Tanzania. The downstream, which is already evident in the country, is available for many local entities to deliver the final oil products to the consumers. There is less local participation in the upstream and the midstream projects because they are technical and capital intensive.

The Oil and Gas Value Chain in Uganda is an exciting opportunity for many local people. Opportunities include a wide range of jobs created plus the provision of services and goods in the downstream operations. With close to 15,000 workers to be employed directly, there will be a big need for food, accommodation, and health services, among others. When we talk about food, agriculture becomes a critical focus area, presenting many opportunities to benefit from.

Ernest Wasake:  Great, please tell us about the Stanbic Business Incubator Limited’s role in the Oil and Gas Value Chain?

Tony Otoa:  The Incubator’s role is very interesting and has been evident for quite some time.

We do not see ourselves as a stand-alone financial entity but as an entity supporting Oil and Gas Value Chain players. The Stanbic Business Incubator has concentrated on training and making Ugandan businesses astute over the last three years. When I speak about astute, I mean ensuring the visibility of demand, letting them know what opportunities are coming their way, and training them to become efficient, sustainable, and thrive.

There is no doubt that Ugandan businesses will seize the Oil and Gas sector opportunities with the Incubator’s support. For example, some companies that have come out of the incubator program are now huge players in the Oil and Gas space. One of the companies is Inspecta Africa, a company providing services to the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) and has gone on to forge international partnerships with businesses across the region.

We also want to create stories that speak to employability for young people and steer financial rotation in the sector. We hope that as we support local businesses to become better, we can see many companies improving and actively participating in the industry. In the early times, not many Ugandan companies actively participated during the exploration and the appraisal phase. Many of them were sub, sub, sub, subcontractors. We want our companies to be contractors or subcontractors who are making real revenue and not breadcrumbs.

Ernest Wasake: Thank you for the excellent overview. What opportunities exist for SMEs in the Value Chain?

Tony Otoa:  Enormous opportunities exist for SMEs in the Value Chain.

As you all know, the Government of Uganda has been very deliberate in ring-fencing some areas for local businesses. So Ugandan SMEs have priority when it comes to these opportunities. Some of these include civil work construction, transport logistics, catering, hospitality, security, manpower, etc. SMEs simply need to understand and prepare to apply for the opportunities.

As a business, you might have been in operation for a long time, but for as long as you have not gone the extra mile to make yourself known and active in the Oil and Gas space, it will be hard to participate. First, the Oil and Gas sector is capital intensive. Businesses need time to develop and become attractive to financing. That financing is now readily available.

Second, seek to understand the sector more by engaging with the different sector actors. We now see a trend of the Oil and Gas sector now coming back into the arena. Businesses need to seek partners to make this a reality through joint venture partnerships with local and international companies. If SMEs can do that, then we are doing well as a country because the sector proves that growth is possible.

Ernest Wasake: What policies exist to encourage SME participation in the Value Chain? 

Tony Otoa:  Uganda has done well in terms of policy and regulations for the Oil and Gas sector.

When we compare with countries like Nigeria, which has been producing oil for over 60 years, their local content regulations and laws came into play around 2010/2011. For Uganda, even before the Oil and Gas activities were fully operational, we created those laws, regulations and policies, which is a good step. We have policies that support the participation of local businesses in the Oil and Gas space under the local content policy. Some sector activities are ring-fenced for Ugandan companies, which is a great starting point.

These laws and policies are great, but if we do not have Ugandan SMEs who can manage to participate in that space, the law also allows foreign entities to take over the space. So it is upon us to take advantage of the policies and maximize the available opportunities.

Ernest Wasake: What would it take to increase SMEs’ level of participation in the Oil and Gas Value Chain? 

Tony Otoa:   We can do a lot to increase SMEs’ participation in the Value Chain.

I will share a story to answer the question. In 2018, I knew a company while I was at Total E&P as National Content Manager. This company wanted to do what the big players like Schlumberger, Halliburton, and Baker Hughes were doing. The company kept on bidding for those opportunities, but unfortunately, they kept falling off the grid. Why? They did not have what it took to participate in the sector. They had no policies in place. When we brought them on board at the Incubator, we trained them on a three-month program and coached them for close to nine months. During the same time, we supported them to get ISO certification and other certifications. As I speak today, the same company supports CNOOC in various operations and project work for an international logistics company.  That shows you that it is possible in a short period for a small company to become a great participant in the Oil and Gas Value Chain, employ many people and create value in the country. This story speaks to the many businesses that still have the dream and hope of participating in the Oil and Gas sector.

Lastly now that the Final Investment Decision (FID) is soon, it is a signal to an excellent start for Ugandans participating in the Oil and Gas sector. But like the gun at a race, if you are not ready when the sound goes off, you are not prepared, and whoever is prepared will take on this whole race. Therefor SMEs need preparation to benefit from this value chain. As the Stanbic Business Incubator together with our partners we support SME preparation through training, information sharing and creating visibility over demand. We are positive that with these interventions we shall have more SMEs participating in the Oil and Gas value chain.