The morning of Tuesday 17th March 2015 opened business doors in Mbale on the righteous side. Hundreds of traders and their associative leaders converged at Wash & Wills Hotel in Mbale for a breakfast consultative meeting organized by Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI). The business community in attendance was both groups and individual traders. The groups included associations of; Small scale manufacturer , produce dealers, rice exporters, truck drivers, timber & conservation, market vendors, cooperative unions, hotel & tour operators, stone quarry & sand miners, various SACCOs, and private school operators.
On the side of government, Mr. Wepukhulu the district commercial officer constituted the ‘Answer Penal’ and responded to various concerns raised by business community on part of government. Others on answer panel were Mrs. Ekudu Faith from Uganda Insurers Association and Mr. Rubanda Ezra from Chamber of commerce.
The meeting was chaired by Mr.Ndemu John- the UNCCI regional director for eastern Uganda who addressed it to the chief guest Mr. Mujaabi Bernard the lc5 Chairman Mbale District.
The business community at large welcomed the programme and blamed the chamber for having reacted a little late to do something to the overwhelming challenges facing businesses.
Common cross-cutting issues raised by business operators were ; un premised over billing by U, unclear business registration procedures, harsh local tax administration practices, lack of business representation at all decision making levels of government, lack of business & entrepreneur skills training, hand to mouth operators amongst their groups, road axle policy, ground & property rates, how to tap into EAC markets.
In his keynote address, the UNCCI presenter Mr. Rubanda Ezra stressed the importance of business revolution to change perspective to business because of both internal and global competiveness pressures. Business operators should graduate from the traditional fashion of doing business where one would just come in the morning open a stall and sit on a kaboozi bench while waiting for customers. The world production curve is going up while purchasing capacity curve is going down. There is a growing struggle for consumers. Traders have to move out of their comfort ‘shells’ and take business out there. The Indians and Chinese businessmen are not here by choice. They have been out competed at their home and come around to out compete us because we are relatively slow in business innovation.