Kampala. Lack of knowledge continues to lock women entrepreneurs out of public procurement deals, Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA), has said.
Women business ownership in Uganda stands at 33.8 per cent according to the 2018 Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs.
The study placed Uganda in the third place globally. Ghana came first at 46.4 per cent.
Because government is the biggest procurer in Uganda, women could earn more if they participated, according to Mr Enock Mugabi from UN Women.
“Majority of the procurement is done by men in terms of total value,” said Mr Benson Turamye, the acting PPDA executive director, urging more women participation given that most of them are credible businesspeople.
Women participation in huge government contract is mainly attributed to lack of knowledge and operating small and medium enterprises.
Ms Beatrice Alyanata, the Uganda Chamber of Commerce for Small and Medium Enterprises executive director, said majority of government contracts favour large businesses.
“If I have capital of [between] Shs20 and Shs30m and the tender requires Shs200m. How do I get this money? It is really unfair. So they [PPDA] should help small businesses [by designing] tenders to favour small businesses,” she said.
The PPDA law, according to Mr Turamye allows for a reservation scheme but women are not specially considered.
“Section 50 and 59 provide for preference and reservation meaning you can reserve some contract to a sector or group of people but the reservation that was put was mainly to focus on local contractors,” he said.
This was said during a workshop to enhance women participation in public procurement in Kampala.
During the workshop women entrepreneurs demanded that government amends the PPDA law to accommodate them.
“We appeal to government to allocate a 30 per cent share to women entrepreneurs, ensure timely retirement of contracts and provide at least 10 per cent of down payment to women contractors,” Ms Angella Bageine, the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association, chairperson said.
Amending the ppda act
According to Mr Turamye, the proposal to amend the PPDA Act is now before Cabinet and will soon be tabled before Parliament.
“It will soon go to Parliament where provisions of a certain percentage of the value of the budget of an entity goes to [special] groups [such as] women, youth and the elderly,” he says.
The amendments, if passed, will allow gender responsive measures that will accommodate more women participation.