The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to improve business relationships along the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
Mr. Michael Otonga Ochan, the Director of Finance and Administration at PAU, signed the MOU on behalf of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development. He emphasized that the primary goal of this MOU is to create a robust marketplace for goods and services, facilitating transactions between small, medium, and large enterprises. The signing ceremony took place at PAU’s offices in Entebbe.
Mr. Otonga expressed optimism that this MOU will open significant market opportunities for SMEs, enabling them to engage in business with larger enterprises already under contract with the Petroleum Authority of Uganda.
He explained, “The MOU establishes connections between small and medium enterprises and large enterprises, ensuring a seamless flow of goods and services. So far, we’ve provided training to 400 companies, including those led by women and youth. However, the formalization and registration of SMEs remain a challenge, and their numbers are still relatively low.”
Mr. Peter Kenneth Bintu, the Enterprise Development officer at Petroleum Authority Uganda, outlined their plans to enhance collaboration between small, medium, and large enterprises. They aim to enable small companies to supply goods to larger companies while also improving the quality of products they offer in the market.
He stated, “The MOU creates opportunities for small businesses to trade with larger companies that have contracts with the oil and gas industry. It also mandates larger enterprises to share knowledge with SMEs regarding standard goods and services.”
Directors from companies like Kasirabo Holdings Ltd, which have contracts with the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, welcomed the MOU as a significant opportunity to engage with SMEs. They aim to enhance the quality of products in the market through joint efforts along the East African crude oil pipeline.
“As larger enterprises, we will collaborate with the Petroleum Authority of Uganda along the pipeline to provide a comprehensive supply chain for disease-free seedlings and safe animal genetics, ensuring continuity of trade between enterprises. The seedlings are expected to yield high-quality crops, and the genetic animals will produce ample milk,” Mr. Kasirabo explained.
Dr. Paul Kyalimpa, Director of Esteem International Consultant Services and Deputy Executive Director of Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), highlighted the MOU’s potential to foster business connections in the ten districts through which the East African Crude Oil pipeline will pass, including Mubende, Kikuube, and Kakumiro.
Dr. Kyalimpa added, “We have local leadership support, and we’ve been assisting SMEs through training and surveys to identify registered small and medium companies that can supply goods and services to larger companies. Our primary objective is to build the capacities of SMEs so that they can form groups to provide goods and services to larger companies contracted with the Petroleum Authority of Uganda.”