With Uganda’s oil upstream companies preparing to sign off on a $3.5 billion Final Investment Decision for a crude oil export pipeline, Stanbic bank held its second enterprise conference as a way of readying local players to exploit the available opportunities the industry is expected to offer.
Themed ‘Unlocking the oil and gas opportunities for local enterprises,’ the conference offered a critical platform for business owners to understand what it takes to assume huge contracts laced with high standards.
Stephen Segujja, Stanbic bank’s head Enterprise Banking, said they are here to close the financial gaps between the local players and the oil firms.
“As Uganda becomes an oil and gas producing nation, it is important to ensure businesses maximize the opportunities therein. The SMEs are eager to be in this space and we are here to support them. Uganda’s oil and gas sector is expected to attract investments of about $20 billion with about $6 billion expected to be retained into Uganda’s economy. It is, therefore, important to prepare SMEs to help them tap into these opportunities, win contracts and be part of the value chain that is going to deliver first oil,” he said.
He added: “Ugandan SMEs contribute 40 to 50 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), making them engines of growth that account for up to 99 per cent of Ugandan businesses. There are 250,000 registered SMEs in the country but most of these are informal and lack the tools to keep them sustainable. This is why as a bank, we have this annual conference to address some of the challenges facing business.”
According to the 2014 Industrial Baseline Survey (IBS), titled, “A survey to foster opportunities for Ugandans in the oil and gas sector,” Uganda’s petroleum sector will generate 100,000 to 150,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The survey identified limited information, lack of skills, poor infrastructures, and administrative bureaucracy, among others, as some of the barriers that would hamper Ugandans from working in the sector. It also revealed that only 25 industries of the 420 surveyed in Uganda had high potential to supply the sector.