I have rent arrears. How can I negotiate with my landlord?

If you have rent arrears, you are not alone. This is a very sensitive discussion, which recently got the attention of the President, who during his 13th address on the COVID-19 pandemic asked landlords to allow tenants to defer/postpone and reschedule payment of their monthly rental fees to when business resumes. Following the Presidential directive, some landlords have accepted the President’s request to reschedule the payment of rental fees but have declined to write off the arrears occasioned by the ongoing lockdown in the country due to their own responsibilities, which include property tax and ground rent due to government.

For their part, traders have raised fears that arrears might accumulate if the lockdown is not lifted to allow them open shops and make sales to clear debts. Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) Chairperson Evarist Kayondo said the only way to save traders amid the COVID-19 crisis is to write off the collection of rental arrears. Enabling traders to resume operations on a fresh payment schedule would allow those that might otherwise close shop permanently to remain open. KACITA recently sought the Prime Ministers intervention on rent accumulated during lockdown, insisting that government pay part of rent owed by businesses through the government stabilization fund, and to declare the situation a force majeure and the three-month COVID-19 lockdown as a loss to the economy.

Discussions are ongoing between KACITA, landlords, and the government.

What solutions are available for me?

  • Negotiate with your landlord for terms of postponement of your rent arrears to an acceptable time period. Make sure to have these terms legally supported and recorded.
  • Reach out to your umbrella tenant organization if available and work with other government agencies such as the Ministry of Kampala and Kampala Capital City Authority to follow the proper guidelines in place and to ensure that your position is aligned with the agreement that will likely be negotiated by government between tenants and landlords.

Contact KCCA at: www.kcca.go.ug, Tel: 0800990000/0204660000. Email: info@kcca.go.ug

Bwebaba bakubanja ez’ennyumba, toli wekka. Ensonga eno nkulu ddala era n’omukulembeze w’eggwanga yamutuuseeko. Mukwoogera okw’omulundi ogwa 13 ku nsonga za COVID-19, yasaba ba nnannyini mayumba bakkirize abapangisababwe bongezeeyo ebbanga mwebanaasasulira sente zino okutuusa nga emirimu jizzeemu. Abamu baawulira ekiragiro kya president nebakkiriza ekiteeso kino naye baganye okufuluma ekiwandiiko ekisonyiwa abapangisa ababdde batasasula mu biseera bya COVID-19 nga bagamba nti nabo balina obuvunanyizibwa bwebalina okutuukiriza nga emisolo gya gavumenti

Ku ludda lwaabwe, abasuubuzi balaze okutya sente ziyiinza okweeyongera singa omuggalo tegujjibwaawo mangu basobole okuggula amaduuka ggabwe. Sentebe wa KASITA omwami Everist Kayondo yagamba nti engeri yokka egenda okuyamba abapangisa kwekubasonyiwa sente zebabanjibwa. Okusasula sente z’obupangisa nga alimudduuka eppya, kiyamba emirimu emitonotono ejandibadde jifa okuddamu okugulawo. KASITA era yayogerako ne katikkiro wa Uganda kunsonga ya ssente z’obupangisa ezitaasasulwa nga bagamba nti gavumenti yyo yaandisasudde sente zabantu bano nga bayita mu stabilization fund era ekiseera kino bakilangirire nga ekikola ekivudde ku mbeera y’obutonde n’omuggalo guno ogumaze emyeeki 03 bagambe nti gubadde gwa loosi. Enteeseganya zigenda mmaaso wakati wa KACITA, ba landloodi negavumeti

Kati biki byensobola okukola?

– Teesa ne nnannyini nnyumba okuweeyo ebbanga mwoyinza okusasulira ebbanja ekkadde. Laba nti byonna bwookola biri mu tteeka era biwandiikibwa

– Nonya ekitongere oba ekibiina ekigatta abapangisa olwo mukolaginire wamu mutuuse eddobozi lyammwe ku bitongole nga ebyobulamu, KCCA ogoberere bulungi ennambika era weekuumire mukumanya kubiki ebiyinza okuteesebwaako kunkolagana wakati wa bannyini mayumba n’abapangisa. Tuukirira KCCA: kcca.go.ug, essimu: 0800990000/0204660000. Email: info@kcca.go.ug


 (WEBINAR) Re-opening in a Post COVID-19 Environment: Practical Solutions for SMEs 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE WEBINAR

Please note that the webinar will not be accessible until 4:00pm on Tuesday, June 16th


Re-opening in a Post COVID-19 Environment:

Practical Solutions for SMEs 


 

The COVID-19 Business Info Hub is launching a webinar series to provide practical advice and solutions for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through engaging discussions with expert panelists. The first session, Re-opening in a Post COVID-19 Environment: Practical Solutions for SMEs will be held on Tuesday, June 16th at 4.00 pm. The webinar will provide SMEs and industry stakeholders an opportunity to discuss the ”new normal” and share practical solutions that can help the sector in this time of crisis. 

Panelists include Gideon BadagawaExecutive Director of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU)Daniel BirungiExecutive Director of Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), and Hope Sharon KwiyocwinySales and Marketing Manager of HMH Rainbow Limited, YO KUKU. The session will be facilitated by Tony OtoaExecutive Director of Stanbic Bank Business Incubator, and hosted on Blue Jeans. The session is open to ALL, irrespective of the financial institution you bank with!

The webinar comes at a critical time. Uganda has been on lockdown following the COVID-19 pandemic for close to three months, resulting in a myriad of challenges for SMEs, including disruptions in the supply chain, income loss, and changing work environments. A socio-economic impact assessment of COVID-19 on the formal sector and SMEs by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) conducted in April 2020 reveals that 85 percent of all businesses anticipatefinancial distress after three months of lockdown. The expectation of loss is at least 90 percent across companies of all sizes.

The plight of SMEs during COVID-19 poses significant challenges to the Ugandan economy. As the engine of growth for economic development, innovation, and wealth creation, SMEs employ over 2.5 million people in Uganda and account for approximately 90 percent of the entire private sector, generating over 80 percent of the manufacturing output that contributes 20 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

With this in mind, Stanbic Bank Uganda has deliberately prioritized efforts to support the SME sector in their time of need. In partnership with ConsumerCentrix, Stanbic Bank Uganda has launched the COVID-19 Business Info Hub – a website dedicated to providing useful, practical information on key interventions including business training, useful government directives and industry interviews to enable SMEs to stay afloat during COVID-19. 

We look forward to engaging with you on this relevant discussion towards practical solutions for SMEs. 

For desktop users please click on this link: https://bluejeans.com/268588245 to join the webinar which will automatically take you into the webinar through the Blue Jeans application. We recommend using Blue Jeans on your desktop for a superior and simpler user experience (this line may or may not be necessary to add).

If you are not able to join through desktop, here is how to join the meeting using your mobile phone:

You’ve been invited as a guest to attend a Blue Jeans video meeting. To join from your Android or iOS phone (or tablet), follow the instructions below (you do not need to sign up for your own BlueJeans account.):

First download the BlueJeans app, directly from Google Play or Apple store (these links also found at bluejeans.com/downloads), or

  1. Click the meeting URL link from your calendar invite
  2. Click “Join with the app”
  3. Click to install the BlueJeans app
  4. Press Install, from the Google Play or Apple app site
  5. The BlueJeans app is now installed on your phone

Then to join the meeting

  1. Click the meeting URL link from your calendar invite
  2. Click “Join with the app”
  3. With the blue jeans app, already installed, you’ll arrive in a page where you can enter your name or disable your video (if you choose). Press the green “Join Meeting” button.
  4. Click OK If you are asked to allow BlueJeans to access your microphone or camera, or push notifications:

-If your wifi signal is “spotty” (i.e. your audio and/or video images are not good):

-move to an area with a stronger signal, closer to your wifi access point

-swipe the whole button upwards to switch into low bandwidth mode- your camera will be turned off and you will not see any participants- this preserves the limited bandwidth for audio only (you will see screen shares, if they are shown)

-and to improve your audio further, wear earbuds, especially if using android

Etiquette

Attendees will “raise their hand” if they want to interact live in the meeting (be able to speak and be seen): Click the hand, then click “Send Request” to interact live (the Moderator will then review your request). If approved, you’ll receive a confirmation. Unless you are asking a question, please keep your audio to mute throughout the duration of the webinar.

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(UPDATE)How do I handle my tax obligations during COVID-19?

Question: What can I do if I am having trouble paying my taxes while my business suffers during COVID-19?

Answer: Do not fear! The Government of Uganda is taking action to help small and medium businesses like yours. The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is offering most services online – to keep you safe, and to keep you from having to move during a time when it is important to stay at home.

Here is what you need to know:

  • Taxpayers whose returns were due by 15th April 2020 or 15th May 2020 and who are unable to file are granted an extension up to 31st May 2020. This relates to monthly tax types namely VAT, PAYE, Local Excise Duty, Withholding Tax and taxes under the Gaming and Lotteries Act.
  • Taxpayers whose accounting date is 31st October and were unable to file corporation tax returns by 30th April 2020 have been granted extension to file returns. The new filing date is 31st May 2020.
  • Follow this link to file returns online (go to self-service tab, how to use e-services, returns)

Payment of Taxes under Installments

Taxpayers who restructured their payments to resume in May 2020 and are unable to meet their obligations during this period have an option to further reschedule the payments to resume in June 2020. Please note that this applies to taxpayers whose businesses have been affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

Pay from home using online platforms

  • Online Banking/EFT/RTGS/Online Debit Banks,
  • Agency Banking and use of VISA/MasterCard for Stanbic Bank, ABSA and UBA,
  • PayWay services across the country,
  • Mobile Money (MTN and Airtel).

Stay home and stay safe!

Important Contact Information

URA remains operational to offer services that cannot be accessed online. Visit https://www.ura.go.ug. For inquiries and feedback, email: services@ura.go.ug or call (256) 417-442097, 0417444602 or Toll-free lines on 0800117000 or 0800217000. Also go to URA social media pages: Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/URApage/), and Twitter (@URAuganda)

Emitemwa gyange egy’emisolo njikola ntya mu kaseera kano aka COVID-19?

Ekibuuzo:  Kiki kyensobola okukola bwenfuna obuzibu okusasula emisolo emilimu gyange bwejiba tejitambula bulungi mukaseera kano aka covid-19?

Ekiddibwaamu: Toba nakutya. Gavumenti ya Uganda elina enteekateeka okuyamba bizinensi entonotono nga eyo eyiyo. Ekitongole ky’emisolo empeereza ezisinga yziteeka ku mutimbagano, okkukuuma nga oli mulamu, n’okweewala okkutambuza mukiseera kino eky’okusigala awaka.

Bino byoolina okumanya:

  • Abawi b’omusolo nga baalina okuwaayo ebikwaata ku bizinensi zaabwe nga 15 april oba nga 15 May 2020 naye ngatebasobola babawadde obudde okutuusa nga 31 may 2020. Kino kikwaata ku misolo egisasulwa buli mweezi nga VAT, PAYE, Local exercise duty, withholding tax n’emisilo egikwaata ku betting
  • Abawi b’omusolo nga ebitabo byaabwe babibala nga 31 october nga tebaasobola ku teekayo bikwaata ku corperation Tax nga 30 April 2020 baweereddwaayo ebbanga eddala. Kati balina okutuusa nga 31 May 2020
  • Genda wano okussaayo ebiwandiiko byo ku mukutu (self-service tab, how to use e-services, returns)

Okusasula emisolo mu bitundutundu

  • Abawi b’omusolo abakyuusa ensasula yaabwe nebasaba nti baddemu mu May 2020 nga tennafuna busobozi  kuddamu kusasula basobola okuddamu nebongezaayo okutuuka mu June 2020. Kino kikola eri abo abalina bizinensi nga zikoseddwa mu kiseera kino ekya covid-19

Sasulira ewaka nga okozesa omutimbagano

  • Online Banking/EFT/RTGS/Online Debit Banks,
  • Agency Banking n’okukozesa VISA/MasterCard ku Stanbic Bank, ABSA and UBA,
  • PayWay okweetooloola eggwa lyonna,
  • Mobile Money (MTN and Airtel).

Sigala ewaka weekuume nga oli mulamu!

Engeri gyotufunamu

URA yasigala nga nzigula bwooba oyagala empeereza nga tosobola jjifuna ku mutimbagano. Genda ku https://www.ura.go.ug. Nga olina kyeweebuuza oba kyoyagala okuyugamba, email: services@ura.go.ug oba kuba (256) 417-442097, 0417444602 oba 0800117000 or 0800217000 ezitali zaakusasulira


Taking your retail business online? Gain insights from the Country Manager of Jumia Food Uganda

Jumia Food Uganda

Are you planning on taking your retail business online? The COVID-19 Business Info Hub spoke with Mr. Timothy Mugume, Country Manager of Jumia Food Uganda, to understand how COVID-19 has affected online businesses and to give advice for entrepreneurs looking to shift their business online as a result of the pandemic.

What sorts of merchants does Jumia Food Uganda target to onboard?

Jumia Food Uganda looks to onboard merchants in two categories: 1) the service sector and 2) the manufacturing sector. The company works with both micro and larger enterprises and looks at main elements like internet connectivity and existing or potential for an online presence when assessing fit.

What sort of training does these merchants receive?

Jumia Food Uganda offers a number of training programs to onboard merchants through the Jumia Training Academy. The training programs, which are conducted both online and in-person, offer background on how to use the Jumia platform, conduct proper analysis of data provided by Jumia Food Uganda, site management, product management and improvement, and marketing and packaging, to name a few. Training is also set up in a way to enable different merchants to learn from one another. 

What challenges does Jumia Food Uganda face in onboarding merchants?

The challenges Jumia Food Uganda faces in onboarding merchants include language barriers with some of the merchants as well as the need for basic training in computer skills and how to use devices required to engage with the platform. There is also a tremendous need for financial literacy including basic recordkeeping and understanding the value of categorizing income and expenses to access credit lines.

How do merchants convert followers, viewers, or likes into real customers?

It takes a long time to convert viewers and likes into real customers. Jumia looks at the customer experience and customer acquisition. You need to look at smart channels, experiential marketing, and referrals when thinking about this. Leveraging partnerships with different players such as banks promoting online channels is also critical. In terms of customer experience, Jumia Food Uganda collects feedback constantly and makes changes based on that feedback to enhance the experience. It is also important to segment marketing for different channels – social media is a great tool to reach customers with specific messaging. Most importantly, make sure the product is the right one and that you have an assortment on offer. Choice, convenience, and price are key. Building trust has also enabled Jumia Foods Uganda to build a customer base that continues to grow.

What has the effect of the crisis been on orders?

In the first week of the crisis, there were still normal purchases such as for electronics, groceries, and essentials being made. In the second week, we saw a big uptick in big-ticket electronics like large TVs and refrigerators, which indicated that people began to understand that they would be staying in for a longer period of time. This has progressed to now the purchases of more essential items – grocery purchases have grown exponentially, as well as sanitizers and health-related items, which has resulted in giving priority to merchants selling essentials.

What new business skills can entrepreneurs learn to be successful?

New skills merchants would benefit from learning how to be more adaptable and problem-solve quickly. There needs to be a focus on producing goods that can be purchased not just by a small group of people around the merchants but by the whole country. Focusing on quality and packaging as well as understanding customer preferences is critical.

Jumia Food Uganda

Oteekateeka kuteeka bizinensi yo kumutimbagano? Entabiro ya bizinensi mu biseera bya covid-19 yayogeddeko ne Mwaami Timothy Mugume, country manager wa Jumia Food Uganda okutegeera engeri Covid-19 gyakosezzaamu bizinensi eziri ku mutimbagano awe nebannannyini bizinensi amagezi kungeri yokukyuusa bizinensi zaabwe okuzizza ku mutimbagano.

Bizinensi zangeri ki Jumia Food zeesimbyeeko essira okugatta ku mutimbagano?

Abantu ba bika bibiri; 1).Empeereza ezitali zimu  ne 2). Abaamakolero. Tukola ne bizinensi enene n’entono ku bintu nga okubayunga ku mitimbagano n’okubayamba okujiddukanya.

Mubatendeka mutya?

Nga tuyita mu Jumia Training academy, tubatendeka mu bintu ebiwerako.  Okutendekebwa kuno okukolebwa kumikutu oba mubuntu, kuyamba okumanya enkozesa yomukutu gwa Jumia, okwekkenneenya ebiwandiiko ebitali bimu ebileetebwa Jumia Foods, engeri y’okuddukanyaamu omukutu, okunonya obutale, ensabika n’ebilala bingi. Tuyigiriza abayizi okwetendeka oba okuyigira ku bannaabwe.

Kusoomoozaaki kwemuyitamu okuyunga abantu ku mukutu?

Waliwo obuzibu bw’olulimi n’abantu abamu okuba nti tebamanyi kukozesa byuuma bikalimagezi oba ebyuuma ebilala obiyinza okubasobozesa okukoze omutimbagano. Waliwo n’obuzibu bwa bantu obutakuuma bulungi biwandiika byanfuna yaabwe n’okwawula ennyingiza, ku nfulumya, amabanja n’ebila.

Abagoberezi bo, abakwaagala, abakulaba obafuula otya ba ksitoma abakuwa ku sente mubyotunda?

Kitwaala akabanga okutuuka ku kino. Jumia yyo etunuulira nnyo engeri gyofunamu kasitoma n’engeri gyomuyisaamu. Oteekwa okutunuulira emikutu emilala nga okulanga, abakwoogerako eri bannaabwe, . okukola emikago n’abantu abalala nga banka,  nga batumbula byebalanga ku mutimbagano nakyo kiyamba. Ku kikwaata ku ba kasitoma, Jumia Foods ekunnganya ebirowoozo okuva mu bakasitoma nekola enkyuukakyuuaka okusinziira kweebyo. Yawula biki byolanga . katinokugeza omutimbagano mulungi nga olina engeri gyosibyeemu obubaka . ekisinga obukulu, fuba okulaba nti ebintu kyolanga kituufu era kasitoma omuwa ebbeetu okweeloboza. Okweeloboza, okwanguyirwa n’ebbeeyi bikulu nnyo. Obweesigwa nakyo kiyambye Jumia okwoongera okuzimba n’okufuna bakasitoma ate nga bangi bakyajja.

Order zammwe zikoseddwa zitya mukaseera kano?

Mu wiiki eyasooka , tezaakosebwa nnyo. Abantu era baasigala bagula ebyamasannyalaze, ebikozesebwa awaka, n’ebilala. Mu wiiki ey’okubiri, twaalaba nga abantu bagula nnyo ebyamasannyalaze ebinene nga TV, ekitegeeza nti abantu baali bategedde nti baakusigala awaka okumala ebbanga ddene. Kati bagula nnyo ebintu byawaka, sanitizer, ebintu ebikwaata kuby’obulamu. Kati naffe essira tulitadde kubantu abatunda eby’ekika ekyo.

Bukodyo bwa bizinensi ki obupya omuntu bwaasobola okwettanira okukuza bizinensi ye?

Bayiga obukodyo nga okukyuuka n’embeera, okumala ebizibu amangu n’ebilala. Bayige okukola ebyamaguzi ebigulibwa abantu abangi okusinga ebyo ebigulwa abantu abolubatu abo abayinza okuba nti bamanyi abitunda wabula eggwanga lyonna. Omutindo n’ensabika no’kumanya kki kasitoma kyaagala nakyo kikulu.


What does the Purchase Managers Index tell us about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic?

What does the Purchase Managers Index tell us about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The COVID-19 Business Info Hub spoke with Mr. Kenneth Kitungulu, Executive and Head, Global Markets at Stanbic Bank Uganda, to understand what the Purchase Managers Index can tell us about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how SMEs should prepare for the future.

What is the Purchase Managers Index and why is it important?

The Purchase Managers Index is an accurate, comprehensive suite of economic indicators in Africa. It was started in 2016 in Uganda and 400 companies contribute monthly to provide updates on business and economic indicators in different sectors of the economy. It is used by Bank of Uganda and others in decision-making.

What does the Purchase Managers Index I tell us about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Over the past few months, Purchase Managers have indicated that there has been a significant drop in output. Over 90% have indicated a decline in business activities. 36% of companies have had to scale back on employment, and more than 80% have purchased less input in February and March in line with decreased demand. Delivery times have increased significantly, and there has been an overall reduction in prices. For the first time since the PMI was launched, companies are reporting that they are less optimistic about future growth.

What can SMEs do to better prepare for the future?

SMEs must adopt skills around good governance structures within the entity, including separation of ownership from management and ensuring proper accounting policies. It is also critical to ensure there is a good cash buffer, because one thing that this crisis has taught us is that you cannot always predict the future, and we need to be better prepared.


How is PSFU engaging its members and government to support businesses through the COVID-19 crisis?

How is PSFU engaging its members and government to support businesses through the COVID-19 crisis?

The COVID-19 Business Info Hub spoke with Francis Kisirinya, Deputy Executive Director of Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), about the ways in which PSFU is engaging its members and government to support businesses through the COVID-19 crisis.

Our role as PSFU to support businesses is three-fold: first, representation and engagement with government; second, building and supporting businesses to be able to do their business better; and third, mobilizing resources to address the challenges they face.

What advocacy efforts is PSFU undertaking to support SMEs during this time?

PSFU has been and continues to be actively engaged in discussions with the government on issues critical to businesses in the private sector including ensuring timely payments by the government to suppliers, supporting the financial sector in relaxing loan repayment requirements for some borrowers, supporting businesses in maintaining liquidity and accessing affordable finance, and highlighting the importance of business development services. Proposals PSFU has made are already being adopted [by government], and [PSFU] is optimistic that additional suggestions will soon be implemented.

How does PSFU support businesses directly?

It is very clear that business owners need to enhance digital skills. From a policy perspective, PSFU is proposing things that can be done to improve infrastructure and internet availability across the country. On the side of business owners, PSFU offers support with publicity as well as skills building for employees as they work. MSMEs trading today need to include a digital delivery channel. Companies interested in participating in training are encouraged to respond to PSFU’s calls for proposals.

How can businesses engage with PSFU?

PSFU Services is found on Plot 43 Nakasero Road Kampala

Call us on: +256312263850

Email: klmusoke@psfuganda.org.ug

Twitter: @psfug

Facebook: Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU)

Skills Development Facility email contact: dmugoya@psfuganda.org.ug

https://sdfuganda.org/

Q: Introduction

My name is Francis Kisirinya. I am the Deputy Executive Director of Private Sector Foundation Uganda. My day job is to ensure that I am able to link the private sector to policymakers and able to help them improve any issues they have via our programs. We support their capacity building and mobilize resources to support the private sector in Uganda. PSFU has 250 members, which are groups that come from and cover sectors like manufacturing, education, hospitality, insurance, banking, agriculture, mining, trade, commerce – every part of the economy is represented. Those are the direct members. Indirectly, if you look are those organizations and the members under them, we have almost 50,000 businesses indirectly represented and engaged by us.

Q: What is PSFU’s role in support to the private sector and SMEs in particular?

Our role as PSFU is three-fold: first, representation. We represent MSMEs [Micro Small and Medium Enterprises] in places where they are not located. For instance, not all of our traders in markets and shopping malls will be sitting down with government to discuss policy. We have a mechanism through which we reach the members, through the organizations that they are members of. We represent them in government, in terms of policy making. We conduct research and look at policy options and engage with government to discuss policies that will aid their businesses. The second mandate is to build and support businesses to be able to do their business better. You need skills, capital, technology, and so on and so forth. It is our role to be aware of these things and ensure that you benefit from them, that you build your capacity to be able to compete. We also are required to mobilize resources to address your issues. For instance, the country has substantial competitiveness challenges, both at the national level and among our businesses. We look out for resources to help businesses deal with issues affecting their competitiveness. If you look at manufacturing, for instance, they face issues in terms of technology. As PSFU, we can intervene in this area to identify funders, providers of those types of technology so businesses can identify and implement this technology to be able to compete with everyone doing business in the country.

Q: What considerations does PSFU have for smaller member groups such as SACCOs?

For smaller member groups such as SACCOs, we have a two or three track arrangement. First, they must be our members. As members, they are able to discuss and bring their issues [forward]. We bring you together so that you are able to network and work with others. The second thing is that we work with small enterprises in increasing their ability to do their businesses better. One of the things that is a big challenge for SACCOs is in terms of access and utilization of technology. Today’s consumer wants to trade on their phone, banking on their phone, access loans on their phone. Many SACCOs do not have this particular capacity to access this technology. PSFU is actively engaging with providers to make sure SACCOs can access things like this. We are also actively engaging with the government to make sure that SACCOs are able to have some resources that are affordable to on-lend to members of the SACCOs.

Q: What has the impact of COVID-19 been on the SME sector?

PSFU has grouped the impact into three areas; the first one is the markets. Because of the various decisions and new standard operating procedures that have been instituted (such as social distancing), businesses’ access to markets have been curtailed. People are not able to go shop. Those who shop and those who do the trading themselves have not been able to go [to markets]. This is also true for those exporting goods. Those exporting goods are also affected. It is also true for those obtaining supplies, whether locally or through the international community. They are not able to access these particular markets. This has a lot of implications down the roads because activity has been reduced while fixed costs have not been reduced. You pay rent whether you are working or not. The second area of impact which we have seen is the drying up of cash. Companies do not have cash anymore. Very few people are coming [to do business]. Your employees need the cash, financiers who have provided you financing need the cash, you also need the cash. There is very little cash. This is causing a lot of challenges for a number of MSMEs. The next area is in terms of being forced to work in different ways. We are seeing a change in the kind of demands that consumers are putting on MSMEs. Consumers are requiring that MSMEs put in [place] safety measures. As an MSME, you have to invest in safety, address this and invest in personal protective equipment. This is affecting these businesses seriously. Many businesses are facing substantial losses at this time.

Q: Do you have any indicative numbers on where the greatest impact has been?

For the tourism sector for instance, the impact has been 100%. The sector is totally closed down. There are probably 30,000 employees that are home. In the export sector, they are also reducing staff significantly. In manufacturing, they are doing some minimal work, but it is impossible for them to do what they were doing before. Many are reducing staff counts by about 30% in the manufacturing sector alone. In trade, many are not working. These are all jobs that have been lost.

Q: What plans for advocacy does PSFU have in mind to support SMEs?

From the perspective of advocacy to ensure MSMEs are supported, we have been engaging with the government over the last few months and highlighted to them a number of things that they can do. The first is in dealing with issues of liquidity. We have proposed that the government should pay all people who have supplied it goods quickly. There is an issue in the government of sometimes purchasing goods but not paying quickly. We have asked that they make these payments. We supported MSMEs and requested that they submit to us all of their claims. By April 20, we submitted a list with over 1 trillion shillings in terms of unpaid bills, and the government agreed to make these payments. I will also recommend that the businesses, the MSMEs, pay their suppliers if they have some cash. Pay your supplier, pay your employees. That also helps. The second thing that we’ve asked the government to help with is to see that companies’ tax refunds are released. The Uganda Revenue Authority has provided guidance on how to make these refunds much quicker, so they have responded. We have also requested that the financial sector relax the loan repayment requirements with some of their borrowers. The Bank of Uganda has given very good guidance on this in terms of suspending payments, moratoriums on payment of interest, restructuring loans. All those have actually been done, and the government and Bank of Uganda have advised the government that for some requirements that were previously needed before a loan could be restructured, they be waived – even if a loan is in arrears, present yourself to the bank, and the bank will be able to advise you and you can then move forward. The third area we have done on advocacy is to advise the government not to consider increasing taxes. We also wanted some to be reduced so that businesses have some more liquidity to work with. We have advised incentives that were done a few years ago, such as investment incentives, be reinstated so that some companies with extra cash can invest. The fourth area where we have asked government for support is in terms of building alternative markets and access to those markets. We know that today markets in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East are facing challenges because of this virus. We need to find alternative markets, or if not alternative markets, new consumers in these markets. We ask that they make sure consumers still have Uganda in their minds so that when the whole world opens again, they come back for tourism and they continue to buy goods from Uganda. We have also asked that government focus strongly on enterprise development. We need to ensure that we create and build enterprises that are sustainable. The biggest piece of that is providing financing that is affordable but also long term. We insisted that the Ugandan Development Bank be recapitalized so that it is ready to lend out to the MSMEs, to the private sector. When there is affordable finance, we will see investments into MSMEs and MSMEs being more resilient than they are today. We also know that business development services are so critical, so crucial. MSMEs sometimes fail to pay their loans purely because of the additional things that they should have done but do not do. This includes financial literacy and proper preparation of a loan proposal. Business development services is a very important thing that we have asked government to pay attention to so that when businesses come back and access financing, they are able to be resilient and are not affected by things like this virus. We have also requested that the government look at insolvency law, not only in terms of how to organize it and prepare a company that has failed, but it should now have a component of reinvestment. Meaning if a company is insolvent its commitments, don’t just move to sell it. Allow and rehabilitate it. You might need to reinvest in it – reinvest in it and bring it back. In many countries, this facility exists, and they are saving their companies. This is how you have companies that have been in existence for hundreds of years. As we engage government and tell us what they should help us with, we also have our own responsibilities, our own tasks to do. We have learned that we have to have savings. We have to look very closely at what we are spending. We must reduce and optimize costs so that we save for a rainy day. Try to learn how to work with insurance services, understand social safety nets. How can we engage with them? Are they being run properly? If you have an insurance policy, savings, a network of support systems, you are more likely to come back. The other thing that we have talked about very strongly is that government should look at alternative ways of accessing markets. For instance, there are markets for exports in Europe and North America for which we do not have cargo transport capability. We also have to look at how to trade in other markets for Uganda where there are concerns about not being paid. The government needs to support us in trading in some of these markets. We need things like insurance coverage for this. We have connected very well with the government and are quite happy that we are all aiming towards improving and saving our economy.

Q: Will these proposals be adopted by government?

As you can see, a number of these proposals are already being adopted. On the banking side, you can see things being done. The other day the President wrote about securing money to support production. You have seen URA helping the administrative procedures for tax refunds. In the [national] budget, no taxes are going to be increased. There were proposals for increasing taxes this year that are now not there. We will get some room to build ourselves back. The other proposals that we have made are under discussion, and the discussion is going very well. We are very optimistic that the suggestions that we have made are going to be implemented.

Q: What solutions does PSFU have towards training entrepreneurs on digital trading and working remotely?

It is very clear that we need to enhance digital skills everywhere. As PSFU, what we are doing to enhance digital skills is to propose from the policy perspective what things should be done so that internet and digitization is available in the country. We are happy that infrastructure has been put in place and many companies are working to provide this service. There is a component that is a bit of an issue at the moment – that the quality needs to be improved by the service provider. We are encouraging as much as possible those MSMEs that are operating in the digital space to innovate, have new products that companies can use to reach markets. You need to be able to supply your consumers using different approaches, digital being one of them. We are supporting MSMEs involved in e-commerce applications. We are helping them with publicity, with policy support, and have products at PSFU to improve capabilities of employees as they work. If you are an MSME trading today, you need to include a digital delivery channel in your supply chain. If you do not add digital, you will have a greater challenge for yourself. Have digital approaches to reaching your customers.

Q: How can someone access PSFU training?

Today, we ask companies that would like to participate in our skills program, we publish a call for proposals. When a proposal comes out, someone applies to receive grants so that they can be in a position to upskill your staff. We are talking to development partners to increase the tools we have to support MSMEs. Look out for our call for proposals and please participate.

Q: What is PSFU doing in regard to the issue of tenancy for entrepreneurs in huge malls in Kampala and rent?

If tenants are not working, it is unlikely that they will find money to pay landlords. But landlords have also raised the issue that these malls and buildings are being funded by financial institutions. The financial institutions have provided relief but still need to be paid these installments. We are working to try and find a way through which tenants and landlords can find a way to come to an agreement. We have also asked the government to wave some taxes during this time. We are encouraging the engagement between ourselves, the tenants, landlords, and the government so that we have an amicable solution for the issue of rent due during COVID-19. We also encourage landlords to support and help your tenants to rebuild their businesses. Let’s find a brotherly approach, ensuring we support each other. Tenants, please also do your part, keep your word. Do what it takes to deliver on your word.


I am having difficulty paying my microfinance loan. What can I do?

Question: What can I do if I am having trouble paying my microfinance business loan?

Answer: There is no need to panic! The Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority (UMRA) is taking action to help small and medium businesses right now. Contact your microfinance institution right away and find out what they can do for you concerning your loan repayment.

The Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority (UMRA) has instructed microfinance institutions and Money Lenders to grant a moratorium or deferment for loan repayments to borrowers that have been affected by the pandemic on a case by case basis.

Here is what you need to know:

  • If you received a loan prior April 2020 and you were repaying on time, you can apply for a moratorium with your microfinance institution
  • Having a moratorium means that you may be able to delay payments for up to 3 months on loan installment and interest accrued. This means that you will still need to repay the loan in full, with all interest and charges as agreed with your microfinance institution.  UMRA has suspended the payment of arrears as a pre-condition for restructuring loan term for up to 12 months, meaning that you can negotiate with your microfinance institution even if you have arrears.
  • Restructuring of your loans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will not negatively impact your credit risk profile.
  • There are consumer protection guidelines in place by UMRA to protect you, which lenders must adhere to through 31st March 2021

Stay home and talk with your microfinance institution if you are having trouble with loan repayments. It is in the best interest of your business – and of your microfinance institution – for you to succeed, even if there is a delay in payment.  Use digital channels made available by your lender during this time.

Nina obuzibu okusaula loan yange mu microfinance. Nkole ntya?

Ekibuuzo: Nkole ntya bwemba nina obuzibu okusasula looni yange eya Microfinance?

Answer: Teweelariikirira! Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority (UMRA) ekola kyonna ekisoboka okuyamba bizinensi entonotono mukaseera kano. Tuukirira micro finance yo   mangu ddala omanye kyebasobola okukukolera kubikwaatagana nokusasula looni yo

Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority (UMRA) elagidde ebitongole byonna ebiwola sente n’abantu ssekinnoomu okuwa abantu bonna abeewola naye nga bizinensi zaabwe zikoseddwa ekilwadde kino ebbanga eddala mwebalina okusasulira sente nga ensonga bazikola emu kweemu nga bweeba ezze

Bino byolina okumanya:

  • Bwooba wafuna looni nga omweezi gwa April 2020 tegunnatuuka era nga obadde osasula bulungi, osobola okusaba ebbanga eddala mwoosasulira okuva mukitongole ekyakuwola ssente
  • Kino kitegeeza nti osobola okukeerewamu okusasula okumala emyeezi 3 ku bitundutundu byolina okusasula namagoba agaba gagenzeeko. Kino era kitegeeza nti ojja kuba olina okusasula looni yo mubujjuvu byaayo, namagoba gonna n’ebisale ebilala nga bwemwabikkaanyaako n’ekitongole gyeweewola. UMRA eweze okusasula kwa sente enkadde ezibanjibwa naye nga akakkwakkulizo kali nti muddamu nemujiteesaako okujisasula mu bbanga eritasukka myeezi 12. Kitegeeza nti okyaasobola okuteesa n’ekitongole ekyakuwola singa oba olinaye sente zootaasasula.
  • Okuddamu okuteesa ku looni yo olwa covid-19 tekijja kukosa bwesimbu bwolina mukusasula amabanja
  • Waliwo amateeka agakuuma gwwe omweewozi abawola gebalina okugoberera okuyiya mukaseera kano okutuuka nga 31st March 2021.

Sigala ewaka oyogere n’ekitongole kyo bwooba olina obuzi mukusasula looni yo. Kino kiyamba bizinensi yo wamu n’ekitongole gyeweewola okusigala nga kyiri mumbeera ennungi nebwewabaawo okukeerewa mukusasula. Kozesa emitimbagano  egyateekebwaawo ekitongole gyeweewola mukiseera kino


Can I postpone my NSSF contributions as an employer during COVID-19?

Question:  I do not have enough cashflow in my business due to COVID-19 and cannot pay the NSSF contributions of my employees.  What can I do?

Answer:  No reason to panic! In support of the Government of Uganda’s interventions to combat the effect of COVID-19, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has put in place measures to ease the cashflow burden of affected employers/businesses in the private sector.

What you need to know:

  • Reach out via email to amnesty@nssfug.org as soon as possible to explain your situation, clearly indicating how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your business and ask to reschedule your NSSF contributions.
  • NSSF will review and if satisfied, will work with you, on how to reschedule payment contribution for three (3) months without accumulating penalties. However, contributions for the affected months will remain outstanding and be payable by the employers through a convenient payment plan.
  • Employers will be expected to sign a deed of settlement (agreement to pay) to continue to meet their obligation to pay social security contributions for their employees.
  • If you do not apply or your business is not eligible, you still need to pay the NSSF contribution by the 15th day of every month, so reach out now to NSSF Uganda.

 

Employers who require more information should contact the following:

  1. NSSF Compliance Manager Mr. Rwakabureeta Horace

email: hrwakabureete@nssfug.org

  1. NSSF Head of Business Mr. Sajjabi Geoffrey

email: gsaffabi@nssfug.org

 

Call center telephone number: 0800286773 toll free

Email: customerservice@nssfug.org

 

References:  https://www.nssfug.org/312/News/NSSF_Extends_Amnesty_to_Businesses_Facing_Economic_Distress

Nze nga omukozesa nsobola okwongezaayo emitemwa gya NSSF gyenina okusasula  mukaseera ka aka covid-19?

Ekibuuzo: Sirina bulungi sente mu buzinensi yange nga omukozesa era ssisibola kusasula mitemwa gyabakozi bange egya NSSF, Nkole ntya?

Ekiddibwaamu:  Teweelariikirira. Mukaweefube wokuyambako gavumenti okutetenkanya eby’enfuna ebigootaanye olwa covi-19, National social security Fund (NSSF) eriko enteekateeka gyekoze okuyambako amakampuni gw’obwannannyini agakoseddwa ennyo

Byolina okumanya:

  • Tuwandikire ku amnesty@nssfug.org mangu ddala otunnyonnyole embeera yo  nga otulaga bulungi engeri covid-19 gyakukosezzaamu osabe tuddemu okutegeka ensasula yo eya NSSF
  • NSSF ejja kweekennenya era bweneeba ematidde, ejja kkolagana naawe mukkaanye kungeri gyonoosasulamu emitemwa gy’emyeezi esatu nga tekuli ngassi. Naye emitemwa gy’emyeezi gyotasasudde jijja kusigala nga jikubanjibwa era ojja kujisasula mungeri etakukaluubirize
  • Abakozesa bajja kweetaagibwa okuwandika endagaano y’okukkiriza okusasula emitemwa gyaabakozi baabwe eja NSSF
  • Bwooba tosabye oba nga kampuni yo tegwaanidde, kikukakatako okusasula emitemwaajo ejja NSSF nga olwa 15 olwa buli mweezi telunnatuuka, nolweekyo, tuukirira mangu NSSF Uganda.

 

Abakozesa abeetaaga okumanya ebisingawo mutuukirire abantu bano

  1. NSSF Compliance Manager Mr. Rwakabureeta Horace.

email: hrwakabureete@nssfug.org

  1. NSSF Head of Business Mr. Sajjabi Geoffrey

email: gsaffabi@nssfug.org

 

Call center telephone number: 0800286773 etali yakusasulira

Email: customerservice@nssfug.org

 

References:  https://www.nssfug.org/312/News/NSSF_Extends_Amnesty_to_Businesses_Facing_Economic_Distress