Uganda Development Bank Ltd and European Union (EU) have officially launched the second Call for Application Tourism facility that seeks to stimulate businesses operating in the tourism sector which have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 through affordable loans and grants.
Ms. Patricia Ojangole, UDB Managing Director, called upon eligible businesses in the tourism sector to apply for and receive up to Shs1bn in grants and soft loans with flexible terms and aligned to the current needs of the sector.
While speaking during the launch held at Georgina Gardens Hotel- Lubya Hill in Kampala on Wednesday morning, Ojangole said at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Uganda sanctioned travel restrictions within and out of the country leading to a contraction of business opportunities.
“This Facility targets the recovery of these businesses as they take advantage of growing tourist traffic.”
She said the total Facility is over Shs62 billion made up of Shs40 billion ring-fenced funds from UDB and complemented by a grant of Shs21.8 billion from the EU.
She said under this facility, only customers that qualify for the loan will be eligible for the grant.
“The facility offers a low interest repayable within a five-year period with a two-year grace period. UDB will also provide business advisory services under the Business Accelerator for Successful Entrepreneurship (B.A.S.E) to assist applicants meet the criteria,” noted Ojangole.
“We thank the EU for partnering with us in this cause, especially during this time when working capital is crucial to the recovery and growth of businesses in this vital sector. We are calling for the second call because the funds are still available,” she added.
Ojangole said UDB remains committed to agile innovations to match the needs of its customers and to support the mission of the Bank in improving the quality of life of Ugandans through high-impact interventions.
She said the call is open to legally registered businesses that have been in operation for at least two years.
Additionally, applicants must demonstrate that their businesses will be able to retain their employees during the period of the loan.
A complementary environmental assessment by a certified organization will also be offered to successful applicants to facilitate the improvement of their environmental footprint through among others better waste management and renewable energy sources.
“We are here for you. Come use these funds,” said Sam Maitum, the Director Credit at UDB.
He said the minimum is Shs100m to Shs1bn for both the loan and grant.
“Funds are also available to customers who benefited and those whose entities were denied from the first call.”
Caroline Adriaensen, EU Head of Cooperation, said UDB and EU aim at improving the Tourism sector of Uganda by empowering Ugandans to cope with the effects of COVID 19.
“For this second call, a lenient criterion has been adapted. The main objective is to preserve the contribution of tourism to the country’s economy and protect the jobs that the tourism sector offers to citizens,” she said.
Adriaensen said EU is committed to supporting the tourism sector to ensure more people from all over the world come and visit.
“We also want to make sure that the environment is preserved. This could include investments aiming at improving waste management, promoting the use of alternative sources of energy, and going digital among others.”
“We appreciate your efforts and how best you are reviving the tourism sector with these funds. The issue of service and quality is key. We can’t promote Uganda and have nothing to show for it,” said Hon. Bahinduka Mugarra Martin, the Minister of State for Tourism.
“We have a huge middle class who are willing to spend, kindly don’t overlook them while aiming at the white people only. We should organize something bigger to create more awareness. Congratulations to the beneficiaries of the first call, tell others what they are missing,” he said.