By David Muwanga
Diversification is key to the survival of businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Investors in Uganda should stop relying on their traditional businesses if they are to survive the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Diversification of products and services is key to the survival of businesses in the period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because we diversified our services, we have managed not to close the business or reduction in our revenue,” said the Chief Executive Officer of Esteem International Consultants Limited, Paul Kyalimpa.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the firm was providing consultancy for local and international non-governmental organizations.
“Local NGOs are supported by international organizations who also depend on business people’s contributions, some of these businesses closed, owners died hence the world of charity came to a halt, he said adding that even governments went into fundraisings to address the pandemic,”.
Mr. Kyalimpa pointed out that the consultancy firm took advantage of the opportunity when the government allowed construction companies to continue working during the outbreak of the pandemic.
“We changed the portfolio and ventured into commercial transport targeting companies engaged in infrastructure development,”.
“I got Saric Construction company limited that was awarded a tender to construct the centers of excellence in Kichwamba and Bushenyi, they gave me the first contract but without funds to execute it,” he explained adding that he went to Kireka where commercial trucks park.
“They wanted cash which we didn’t have but the contractor was to pay us weekly using post-dated cheques, we got one truck on sale and paid Sh5 million out of Sh55m, our calculation was to pay out of the Sh140m profits which we did with a post-dated cheque, and bought off the truck as it ferried sand from Lwera to Bushenyi and Kichwamba, ” he said adding that the company has so far purchased two more trucks.
He said they are currently engaged in supplying construction materials, hiring out equipment and trucks.
“We are in the process of registering another company Esteem Construction and Engineering Services and we have also won another consultancy tender from the Ministry of Energy to do a feasibility study on biogas to the power plant,”
He advised entrepreneurs to create sources of capital such as resourceful friends, SACCOS, and contracts used as guarantees to source capital from banks.
He however decried the increasing number of accidents on the roads and expensive insurance costs.
“Government should put in a fund to promote local small and medium scale firms especially those feeding into large enterprises, the government should also disseminate information on funds that are in banks on how they can be accessed,”.