The UK’s Department For International Development (DFID) through the Private Sector Foundation Uganda has disbursed shs2bn in financial aid to business communities in an effort to develop poor regions of the country
Gulu Tailors’ Association, the first ever organisation to benefit from the first phase of the grant worth shs240m last year is upbeat about the 272 new sewing machines it has acquired as the direct result of the grant.
Some of the machines are innovative and will serve over 430 tailors in the association who had until now, been hiring from businesses at steep prices.
The Chairperson of Gulu Tailor’s Association Ms Filder Obel Ochora told Acholi Times on Friday that the machines are like nets waiting to catch fish.
“Most of our tailors were hiring but now the small sewing machines are our own” she said.
“We shall have more customers once industrial machines are installed, the machines are like nets in our hands for catching fish,” she said.
Ms Obel says that she however worries of power struggles within her Association and urged for unity and respect.
“Our biggest challenges is power jealousy and struggle, the men say am young and that is why they are few as members and that a woman cannot lead them,” she added.
Ms Obel said that when they acquire the second phase of the grant, it will be directed towards industrial activities such as large scale garment manufacturing and school trainings for drop outs.
The grant is also aimed at promoting private sector growth, investment and employment opportunities under the Post Conflict Development Programme (PCDP) in Acholi, Lango, and Teso sub-region.
Agriculture as an economic benefit is to be retained by improving post-harvest handling, processing, storage and marketing of proceeds.
According to the Private sector rules, each business has to possess a 60 percent cost sharing and members operate in Uganda by Ugandan citizens.
Gulu tailors say that with 370 ordinary sewing machines already at hand, it was enough to get them qualified for the grant.
Ms Obel wonders how they could have failed to qualify for regrets how they failed to be considered for NUSAF funds in 2007 and 2008 respectively despite having all procedural requirements in place.
“We applied twice for small grants from NUSAF and feel we were maliced,” she said “but Private Sector have alleviated our poverty,” she added.
The group were given 272 new industrial and ordinary sewing machines such as Zigzag machines, letter typing machines, 100 seam ripper, 150 pieces of scissors, 50 mitre sticks, 10 iron boxes and 100 tape measures among others.
“I felt touched and happy for this equipments, what we now need is training for these machines,” Chemwaikut Fatuma one of the tailors said.
The association has won contracts from schools within Gulu and Alero in Nwoya for making school uniforms.
Meanwhile the private sector Foundation Uganda criterion for legibility for funding is that applicants have to show a potential of impacting on numbers of persons to qualify for funds ranging from shs350m to shs500m
Ms Ruth Musoke, the Private Sector Director of Services said that any economic activities dealing in agriculture, storage buildings; small or big milling and warehouses will be overtly funded.
“We are offering training for free and what is important is that you must show business potential to impact on many lives and value addition,” she said.
Recently the Manager of Private Sector Foundation Uganda Mr Kisekka Daniel warned against applying for grants that pursue their businesses in gambling and weapon trade.
The Private Sector Foundation in conjunction with Centenary Bank held two days financial literacy training to business communities on book keeping, budgeting, decision making, savings and investments at Hotel Free Zone in Gulu.The Corporate Affair and Public Relation officer Centenary Bank Ms Allen Ayebale said such training would help business communities tap the potential with trade in South Sudan. By A Web design Company
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