By Nancy Emily Nagujja.
PPDA hosted a consultative meeting together with its partners, PSFU and Enabel. They launched the SG+ (Skills, Governance, Attitude and accountability) project that is targeting graduates of not more than 2 years ago. Towards the end of 2018, EUD partnered with PSFU to identify and resolve bottle necks to Private sector investments in both domestic and European businesses in Uganda. The 3 main cross cutting aspects of the project include: Skills and attitudes, Anti-corruption and governance and access to finance. The event had members from distinguished entities like PSFU, PPDA, Enabel and many others. It was channeled towards flagging off the project and making the public aware that sessions have started through information meetings.
According to Dr. Ruth Biyinzika, the Chairperson of The Directorate of Industrial Training Council (DIT) and Head of Projects (PSFU) elaborates that this work readiness program will lead to having more competent and productive labor force thus a vibrant and effective private sector. The project will be focusing on 4 sectors: ICT, Construction and Manufacturing, Agro processing, Tourism and Hospitality management.
The SG+ project’s main objective is to help Uganda’s business environment more conducive and inclusive through increasing the supply of qualified workers, establishing private sector led initiatives to fight corruption and strengthen the public sector dialogue.
Under the governance and anti-corruption, SG+ is partnering with The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) to train 40 Trainers of Trainees (ToTs) on the e-GP system, train 200 companies on the use of e-GP and organize information sharing sessions with potential bidders and public awareness campaigns and strategic dialogue together with feedback sessions.
Under Anti-corruption, reporting facilities, the project implementers pledge to develop a Private sector led-corruption reporting facility to generate reports on corruption experiences of companies. They will sensitize members on use of CRT, analyze data, identify corruption trends, create visual illustrations and generate policy briefs for advocacy purposes. They will hold high-level policy dialogue with stakeholders (Private sector, Government and the European Union) to discuss anti-corruption evidence based issues with the SB4 framework.
In digitalization and data integration the project will collaborate with National Information Technology Authority (NITA) to compile and share information on e-government digitalized services. Train 60 companies about government digitalization, and facilitate strategic dialogues for policy advocacy together with feedback sessions between NITA and Private sector actors.
The work readiness program is giving these graduates a chance to do this 6 month program from any university in Uganda. The graduates chose a program of their choice. The program will be able to pay up to 80% of their salaries, pay for their NSSF, pay for their accidental insurance, pay for their uniforms and any necessary equipment.
The companies that will take on these graduates must be willing to select the graduates they need and be able to employ for at least one year. The project is going to work with 250 companies as they target at least 1000 graduates.
Mr. Edwin Muhumuza the Director Corporate Affairs, PPDA on behalf of the Executive Director PPDA, mentioned that they went through a formal bidding process for them to acquire a developer that built the e-GP system. They piloted 11 entities first and now have 25 entities on the system.
The purpose of the meeting is to listen from the people that have engaged with the e-GP system on the challenges they have faced and expectations from those that are yet to interact with the system. These 25 entities are using the system already but all registration of providers is now happening on the system with effect from this year.
PPDA as a partner of the SG+ project aims to foster emphasis on the Anti-corruption and governance aspect by creating more awareness of the issues like: unclear TOR’s requirements, lack of transparency, unclear evaluation criteria but also perception. The project will run for 2 years and by the time the project comes to the end, they should see very good positive outcomes from the implementation of e-GP.
Mr. Steven Asiimwe, The Executive Director (Private Sector Foundation Uganda, PSFU) PSFU noted that PSFU is partnering on another game changing initiative with Enabel a partner of the SG+ project which is the intervention on skills, attitudes, governance and accountability project.
“As PSFU, we are starting to go wider and have an impact across the country. PSFU through these partnerships is ensuring that businesses access everything. We need to remove the fear and stigma by bridging the gap between technology and businesses, people and opportunities,” Mr. Asiimwe Steven said.
Private Sector Foundation Uganda is discussing ways to be more effectively and be a part of local content. A lot of foreign companies with very advanced systems are taking advantage of us and yet we are complaining we are not getting jobs, opportunities. It is part of our responsibility to push for policy engagement, we are doing evidence based research to inform on policies. We are in the bid to acquire partnerships so that Private Sector can thrive.
Today marks an important step in our partnership with PPDA on working on different interventions aimed at improving the business environment. The SG+ (sills, governance, attitudes and accountability) project is one of such interventions whose main focus will be on improving the understanding, appreciation by respective stakeholders and the e-GP progress. We believe with such interventions we would be able to make a contribution towards addressing one of the most critical challenges of doing business in Uganda.
Many students leave the university with degrees and have no practicality, work ethic and cannot do anything to perform to the best of their abilities. Instead their expectations are so high and yet their performance is so low. What we are seeking for in this project is to ensure that we equip these graduates with skills and capacity that will make them work ready. With the SG+ project, PSFU wants to create awareness by working hand I hand with PPDA to improve transparency in procurement processes.
Ms. Sophie Kyagulanyi from Enabel Uganda in her remarks noted that they are in close collaboration with the Government of Uganda in implementing several programs towards skilling and equipping stakeholders to be able to deliver their mandates. Enabel Uganda has strengthened health services and primary health care at local level through working with private and public facilities through capacity building of medical staff and ensuring there is result based financing.
Enabel has embarked on an ambitious journey and comes with the hope that together we can able to successfully implement the coded SG+ project. They will implement the project with their partners for the next 3 years and the European Union has set aside to start with 5million Euros for finance under the 11th European fund to support any interventions that will be undertaken in these 3 years. They hope as they through this project, they foster the exchange of views, share experiences as well as possibilities of learning, collecting data, evidence based research and fostering governance that will be sustained. Enabel is committed to proper implementation of the project from the start to the end.
The SG+ project was been officially launched and will be jointly implemented by Enabel, Private Sector Foundation Uganda, with funding from European Union. Fresh graduates in Kampala and the surrounding areas are encouraged to apply for the work readiness program. Applications are open and they close on 31st March 2022. Sessions have kicked off at Hotel Africana.