Hon Evelyn Anite, the State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization has urged Small and Medium Sized Enterprises to explore regional and international markets to grow.
Anite made these remarks while officiating the Top 100 gala dinner at Hotel Africa on Thursday.
S“As the Government, we are deliberate with our support to SMEs and Investors, because to fight unemployment, we need more entrepreneurs and job creators. We want Uganda to be the number one investment destination in Africa. The only way we can achieve that is by encouraging entrepreneurs such as you,” she said adding,
“The President isn’t only promoting regional integration but the African market and international markets. The East African market has 300 million people, that’s a large market pool for you to play in. Do not focus only on our borders, look beyond Uganda. We decided to dedicate two years to promote only domestic investors,”
The Uganda Top 100 mid-sized companies program has been running since 2009 with the objectives of identifying Uganda’s fastest-growing medium-sized companies that display business excellence and showcasing some of the country’s most successful entrepreneurship stories.
This year’s survey ran under the theme ‘creating synergies and sustainable business models sufficient for accelerated growth.’
This year saw over 100 SMEs recognized, and special categories for companies that exceeded the Shs25Bn turnovers graduated into Club 101. This is an exclusive club of the former top 100 that has surpassed the ceiling revenue cup of 25 billion in annual turnover.
SMEs decried to the Minister some of the challenges, they said are affecting them.
Among them are; high taxes, competition from substandard products, stringent credit terms, insufficient start-up capital, and delays to pay debts, among others.
Speaking at the Gala, Ibrahim Mbosa, the Assistant Commissioner for Public and Corporate Affairs, at Uganda Revenue Authority assured the SMEs of the regulator’s support in helping them become tax compliant to benefit and grow in the long run.
“We are undergoing a revolution, gone are the days when we were harshly reminding you to pay taxes,” he said adding,
“We are becoming more friendly so that you can comply. We want to put a human face to taxation. We have embraced technology; we welcome you as SMEs to also utilize them,”
Bbosa lauded the sector for its contributions to tax collections.
“Despite the strides, we have a mountain of tax collection given to us by you; that is to collect over 25.5 trillion shillings this year. We have about 2.7 million taxpayers, yet the population is high, and the tax burden is on a few that is why we need to widen the tax base. To do that, we have to work together, we want to have honest conversations on how we can work together as enablers of growth,” he concluded.