A delegation from Uganda led by Ms. Amelia Kyambadde Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Government of Uganda called on Shri Virbhadra Singh, Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises here today.
The Minister welcomed the visiting dignitaries and recalled the friendly ties that India has with Uganda and gave an overview of institutional and policy framework for promotion of MSMEs. He further stated that National Small Industries Corporation Ltd. (NSIC), a PSU under the Ministry of MSME had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Uganda. However, the validity of the MoU has expired and assured India’s cooperation in the development of MSME sector in Uganda.
Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Government of Uganda gave an overview of the MSME sector in Uganda and stated that most of the entrepreneurs are still below the poverty line. Ms. Amelia Kyambadde further stated that Uganda recognizes the role of this sector in stimulating all around economic development and is keen to promote its development. In this regard, the Minister stated that India is having rich experience in developing a robust policy framework in this sector, institutional and policy framework in this sector and Uganda is looking forward to learn from India’s experience. Some of the basic issues on which India’s cooperation was sought were:- Strengthening of the Directorate of MSME including capacity building, Creating an inventory of MSME, Connecting all the base stations of Directorate of MSME all over the country through IT network, Upgrading the Directorate of MSME to a Ministry, Establishing linkages with Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Facilitating the MSMEs in the purchase of equipments through loans/grants/line of credit etc., Improve the marketing/ branding / packaging of the products of MSMEs.
Shri R.K. Mathur, Secretary (MSME) while responding to the issues raised by the Ugandan Minister stated that India is continuously experimenting institutional and policy framework for the development of MSMEs and would be happy to share its experience with Uganda. However, rather than replicating the Indian experience in its totality, Uganda should customize them to suit their local needs. He then stated that India has signed MoU with several African countries for cooperation in the field of MSME sector and this has been a tested and proven method for furthering cooperation. The MoU would provide a platform to Indian and Ugandan officials to engage in detailed deliberations at specific issues. India and Uganda could explore the possibilities of entering into a MoU in consultation with their respective foreign ministries.
Secretary, MSME then mentioned some of the initiatives taken by the Central Government to promote growth and development of MSME sector. The Prime Minister’s Task Force on MSMEs had stipulated that the commercial banks should achieve a year on year growth of 20% in the lending towards MSMEs. Similarly, the Task Force has also set a target of imparting skill development programmes to 500 million people by 2022. Keeping in view the new entrance to the work pull and re-scaling of the existing employees, the Government hopes to achieve this target by working in tendon with other Central Ministries and private organizations. Secretary (MSME) stated that the field offices of the various organizations of the Ministry are located all over the country and they actively disseminate information regarding various schemes and policies of the Government by way of seminars, workshops, exhibitions etc. Moreover, all the information is also available on the website of the Ministry and its organizations. The Ministry has recently completed a census of all the registered MSME units of the country and the information is available on the website of the Ministry. Secretary (MSME) also spoke about the Credit Guarantee Scheme under which 75% of the sanctioned amount of credit given to MSMEs are guaranteed. He pointed out that timely availability of credit is very essential for scaling up of the operations of MSME units.
Dr. H.P. Kumar, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, NSIC stated that NSIC is working with several African countries for the development of MSMEs. The major activities of NSIC include providing assistance in the setting up of vocational training centre/incubation centre and providing assistance in policy formulation / export facilitation etc. However, the above activities would require an in depth study of the MSME sector in the beginning. Secretary (MSME) stated that a team from NSIC could visit Uganda to study the MSME sector and suggest the way forward.
The Meeting was attended Mr. Bright Rwamirama Minister of State for Agriculture Fisheries and Animal Husbandry, Mr. Vincent Rubarema Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Animal Husbandry, Ambassdor Nimisha J Madhvam, High Commissioner and other officials of the Ministry.