Beyond preaching the gospel, religious organisations across the divide must contributing to prosperity of communities, according to Rev Ezra Mukonzo Yongeza, the Kasese District Inter-religious Committee chairperson.
Speaking during a week-long basic entrepreneurship start-up tools training in Kasese District, Rev Yongeza said apart from empowering followers, religious leaders must also venture into business to better their livelihoods.
“On top of preaching God’s word, integrate enterprise development. No poor man will inherit the kingdom of God; besides no follower will come to you when you are poor. You need to preach the gospel when you have money in and able to take your children to school,” he said.
Apart from spiritual nourishment, religious institutions have been key in a number of sectors such as education. However, they have not done much in terns of enterprise development.
The training, organised by Enterprise Uganda with the support of Kasese Women MP Winnie Kiiza, seeks to entrench entrepreneurship, mind set change and business sustainability.
Uganda has been recognized a key entrepreneurship country but has been let down by high levels of business failures. On her part, Ms Kiiza urged women to get involved in entrepreneurship, noting that this is the only way through which they will improve their livelihood.
A 2018 Mastercard Index of Women’s Entrepreneurship noted that one in three businesses or 33.8 per cent of businesses in Uganda are owned by women.
However, this, according to world standards, is still low. Experts say it must rise to at least 45 per cent to have serious impact.
Speaking at the same training, Enterprise Uganda Executive Director Charles Ocici, said the high rate of business failure should largely be blamed on reckless lending. Most of the businesses that have collapsed, he noted, have been weighed down by loans, blaming financial institutions for irresponsible lending.
“Many bank have been part of the story of destruction of successful brands. Almost every big story of failure, there is a bank behind it and if you checked how the bank,” Mr Ocici said, noting that whereas lending is one way through which business expand, it should be exercised responsibly.
According to Mr Ocici, banks must lend with responsibility. They should also be able to access whether a borrower has sufficient capacity to pay back what they are borrowing.