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Enterprise development: minister Balaam rallies govt on mindset change

L-R: Rwampara East MP Julius Karuhanga, minister Balaam Barugahara, Rwampara County MP Amos Kankunda and Rwampara Woman MP Molly Asiimwe. Extreme right is Charles Ocici

L-R: Rwampara East MP Julius Karuhanga, minister Balaam Barugahara, Rwampara County MP Amos Kankunda and Rwampara Woman MP Molly Asiimwe. Extreme right is Charles Ocici

Balaam Barugahara, the state minister for Youth and Children Affairs, says government should consider prioritizing mindset change over other forms of interventions directed at uplifting people out of poverty.

He was speaking last week at the closing of a one-week enterprise development training in Rwampara. Enterprise Uganda, in partnership with the area MP, Amos Kankunda, organized the event.

The minister believes that to a large extent, poverty, just like wealth, starts building from the mind, and reasons that a consistent positive mindset about wealth creation and working hard carries a higher probability of making people wealthy.

“Business should be handled with a strong determination, resilience and creativity, where even during times of immense challenges, the entrepreneur does not have to consider giving up to be anywhere among the solution options—that is the gospel whose propagation the government ought to support,” he says.

He notes that government is undertaking a series of poverty eradication programmes like Emyooga, the Youth Livelihood Programme
and the Parish Development Model, in which trillions have been injected to offer business financial support to the beneficiaries. From all that effort, better results can only be realized if the recipients of the funds have already been given a foundation based on inculcating in them a positive mindset and skills.

“I personally believe that even when government cannot reach out to everyone to offer financial support for enterprise growth, we should consider supporting the flow of information about skills development and mindset change—this is as good as, or even better than, money,” he says.

Records show that government allocates at least Shs 2 trillion per annum in supporting people across the country with business development credit cash through the different programmes, out of which the minister suggests a significant allocation should be directed towards supporting training activities conducted by entities experienced in that area.

“Provision of funds to transform people is a great idea, but a significant fraction of this total resource envelope should be directed towards causing  positive mindset change and building of skills on how enterprises can be best managed,” he says.

He expressed dismay that young people supposed to deploy their energies and creativity in productive ventures are instead into get-rich- quick schemes like gambling in sports betting. Such people, he says, cannot be entrusted with government support funds before being trained in mindset change and the basic principles of managing enterprises.

CONFRONTING CHALLENGES UNDER LIMITED FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

On his part, Kankunda says his decision to partner with Enterprise Uganda is all about heeding President Museveni’s regular call to political leaders to take a lead in guiding their communities into intensive commercial agriculture.

“We are relentlessly teaching people the tactics of maximizing returns from enterprise mix while exploiting small pieces of land so that we see them transcending subsistence levels through full commercialization of their activities,” he says.

THE NEED FOR AN AGRICULTURAL BANK

Also the chairperson of the of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, Kankunda suggests that whereas the country is dotted with lending institutions, there is need for a national bank dedicated to supporting agricultural development to cushion farmers against the existing bureaucratic and profit-focused lending entities.

Meanwhile, Charles Ocici, the Enterprise Uganda executive director, advises entrepreneurs to always normalize running enterprises, drawing lessons and guidelines as learned during such training, a shift from managing businesses rudimentarily because lending institutions will always qualify only those organized with written data about the status of the business.

“Credit cash can only flow where it is best profitably deployed. If one runs an organized and well-profiled enterprise, the lenders will be able to establish their (borrowers) suitability and ability to use the borrowed money and pay it back. All about how to organise business is embedded in the knowledge we have been imparting over a week,” he says.

Responding to the call by Barugahara regarding emphasis on skilling and mindset change strategy, Ocici confirms that Enterprise Uganda has been training entrepreneurs for the last 20 years.

However, the entity’s pace, he says, is always determined by the availability of resources, which sometimes limits the work scope, but he is optimistic that at some point government will consider Enterprise Uganda for adequate funds.

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