KAMPALA —Uganda Development Bank (UDB) to channel its support towards Small and Medium Enterprises, Youth and Women in a new financial strategy to improve livelihoods.
UDB has since agreed to support up to two million women but under cooperative groupings. The development was communicated by Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL) chairperson Dr. Barbara Ofwono Buyondo during the launch of Women Entrepreneurs Month on Monday.
“I’m happy to announce to you that we have reached an agreement with UDB and they are willing to finance 2 million women under different groups and SACCOS,” Dr. Barbara Ofwono Buyondo said.
UDB used to give loans minimum of 50 million and above but through a new negotiated financial strategy with UWEAL, Dr. Barbara Ofwono told reporters that UDB is willing to support upto 2 million women at a relatively low interest rate.
According to the Bank, SMEs can now access up to a maximum of UGX720m, women groups up to UGX. 900m youth up to a maximum of UGX 540m with a minimum amount of UGX. 50m.
The Bank in addition will continue to extend non-financial support to SMEs through business advisory services to strengthen their operations and capacity.
“UDB lending targets the entire country to maximize the impact on the economy and guided by government policy, widen the net of participation in the area of approvals. As Uganda battles the second wave of the COVID-19 the economic recovery is dependent on targeted and sustained investments. Its UDB mandate to ensure growth in the economy through sustainable financial interventions,” a statement released by the bank states.
UDB has come under criticism for failure to include SMEs in its UGX. 455b economic recovery intervention by government.
While accounting for the utilisation of the funds in Parliament in April 2021, UDB officials came under fire from MPs for failure to allocate money to small businesses, which were heavily hit by COVID-19.
The MPs accused the officials for deviating from what they called COVID-19 intervention fund and allocated it to only huge companies involved in Agriculture, agro-processing, manufacturing, Tourism and hospitality among others.
Government last year through a supplementary budget allocated UGX 455b to UDB as an economic recovery intervention after the economy was hit by COVID-19.
Nassali Hudah—Board Member for youth said they are carrying out capacity building sessions to empower women before they can access this money.
She rallied the women and young girls ro sign up with UWAEL to benefit from the these opportunities.
“Let them come and sign up with us. This is going to be a place where their ideas are going to be brought to life,” she said.
“If there’s a women there or a girl that has an idea but doesn’t know how to execute it, UWEAL is going to be the place where your idea is going to brought to life.”