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SME body wants government to establish compensation fund for businesses that get hit by catastrophes

John Walugembe addressing journalists on Nov.21.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Federation of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises – Uganda has asked the government to establish what it calls a ‘compensation fund’ to support businesses that get hit.

Speaking to journalists on Nov.21 at the federation’s offices in Ntinda, Kampala, John Walugembe, the executive director, said many of his members have negatively been impacted by recent bomb attacks mainly in Kampala and could require financial and non-financial support to recover.

“Many have recorded reduced sales and jobs losses,” he said.

In addition, he said, if the fund was in place, government could have easily worked out a strategy to jumpstart businesses that were severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic – another calamity the world leaders have been grappling with since the beginning of last year.

Meanwhile, Walugembe said, the current situation has led to physical destruction of property, increased uncertainty, fear and nervousness, which scares away potential investors, reduces consumption of goods and services by Ugandans, reduces tourism inflows and increased xenophobia towards perceived associates of the terrorists.

Walugembe urged SMEs to go about their business, but keep vigilant to ensure that their premises are not used as launch pads for terrorist attacks.

He also said, the federation will back the government in all efforts geared towards creating job opportunities for young people through offering them hands on training and apprenticeship.

“This could address the root causes of some of these catastrophes,” he said.

Walugembe urges the government to take all the necessary measures to thoroughly investigate terrorist incidents and prosecute their perpetrators.

He urged Ugandans not to stigmatize anyone as a result of their perceived association with terrorists.

The country has in the past one month experienced a wave of suicide bombings with the latest being the twin bombings near Central Police Station and the other along Parliament Avenue, leaving six people dead including three bombers and scores injured on Nov.16.

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