KAMPALA – The Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (FSMEs) launched a “GO DIGITAL” campaign that is aimed at helping traditional industry SMEs to use digital technologies and seize the opportunities in the digital economy, in the post-COVID era.
Mr. John Walugembe, the Executive Director FSME said that the campaign is aimed at ensuring that in addition to benefitting from the “SME Digital Literacy Programme” that they run with UCC; SMEs will adopt innovative digital solutions to improve their ability to reach and serve their consumers.
“In this way, our SMEs will become more competitive in the online market place against more technologically savvy international competitors that are presently stealing their customers. This programme will involve: training SMEs on off the shelf technology solutions that could enhance their efficiency, linking SMEs to affordable providers of technology-e.g. smart phones and linking SMEs to affordable providers of broadband connectivity, among others,” said Walugembe.
He said that FSME appreciates that the “GO DIGITAL” campaign cannot be successful unless there is a roll-out of quality ICT infrastructure countrywide.
“In this regard, we urge the Government to continue improving its broadband connectivity, particularly to rural and remote areas of the country. Moreover, it is vital that the regulatory environment for ICT adoption by SMEs is right. Issues of privacy, security, trust and consumer protection should be enshrined in law to ensure that SMEs are not fall prey to cybercrime and infringement of their privacy,” he added.
Additional comments on the Government’s procurement of facemasks, Walugembe said that FSME is concerned that the procurement process for facemasks has unintentionally marginalized domestic small scale producers.
He said “The prequalification requirements have made it nearly impossible for small and medium-scale manufacturers to compete with their larger counterparts. Our proposal to the Government is that focus should be placed on building the capacity of local producers to make masks that meet the standards. In this way, small scale producers all over Uganda will benefit from the opportunity of making masks and earning income at this time. If we restrict this opportunity to large scale producers who already possess enough resources, the livelihoods of low-income small manufacturers will be adversely affected.”