Mbabazi was this week responding to concerns from farmers on the high cost of fertilizers in the country during the opening of the 8th Annual Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Event 2014 organised by the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) in Lugogo show grounds.
He said the programme would start in the coming financial year.
During the event, Mbabazi directed sector ministries and departments responsible for small and medium enterprises to devote more time and resources to supporting these entrepreneurs whose contribution is more than 80% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Mbabazi said Government had put in place an institutional framework to nurture the growth of SMEs in Uganda.
“The NRM Government is committed under vision 2040 to supporting programmes and initiatives that are aimed at graduating our economy to a middle income status over the next 10 years,” Mbabazi said.
He said Government was making efforts to revive the SMEs sector through the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives which has already established a department to focus on the challenges of SMEs.
The three-day event was organized under the theme: “Stimulating SME’s for Economic Growth and Development”.
Mbabazi thanked the PSFUfor strengthening the partnership with Government, adding that public private partnerships and dialogue were crucial for economic growth.
“The business environment today is very competitive and requires up to date standards, technology and expertise,” He said.
He appealed to SME’s to register and pay their taxes regularly to enable the country raise its revenue collection from the current level of 13%, which is far less compared to many African countries.
The Chairman PSFU, Gerald Ssendaula, recommended that Government undertakes reforms in the productive sectors such as agriculture by strengthening the extension services.
He asked Government to finalise the SME policy and also expedite the process of enacting legislation to protect local manufacturers from counterfeit goods that are still flooding the Ugandan market.