Friday June 8 2012

Multinational banks urged on serving SMEs

By Flavia Nalubega

Multinational banks with a presence in Uganda must integrate SME banking in their service menus, according to Ms Maria Kiwanuka, The Finance Minister.

Such banks, Ms Kiwanuka said at the ceremony to mark Citibank’s 200th anniversary in Kampala on Tuesday must consider formulating products that appeal to a growing SME market that is currently characterizing Uganda’s market.

Multinational banks usually shy away from creating products including soft loans and working capital that usually appeal to SMEs.

Over 75 per cent of Uganda’s economy is characterised by SMEs. According to a 2010 Enterprise Uganda report, Uganda has about 800,000 SMEs employing over 80 per cent of the population.

Ms Kiwanuka said: “Much of Uganda’s businesses are composed of SMEs. These are the future of Uganda’s economy, so multinational banks should build products to support them (SMEs).”

She said there is need to extend services to the unbanked population, especially in agriculture, which is the country’s backbone.
However, Citibank Uganda with a current capital account of about Shs155 billion, has according to Mr Chinedu Ikwudinma, been involved in both corporate and low income financing.

This, Mr Ikwudinma said is one of the bank’s core value that has supported the growth of its Ugandan operations.