By Andrew Cohen Amvesi
ARUA. Local traders in the West Nile region have been urged to register their businesses so as to increase visibility, expand client base and increase the sales of their products.
The appeal was made on Monday during a press conference about the upcoming West Nile Business Expo 2022.
The business expo which will be held under the theme: “Enabling Small and Medium Businesses Unlock their Potential,” will take place from July 6th to 8th, 2022 at the former Arua market grounds opposite Total roundabout fuel station in Arua City.
The West Nile Business Expo 2022 is part of the efforts to boost local economic development in the West Nile Region. It is organized by the private sector, Arua district and city administration with support from the European Union, and GIZ as an implementing partner.
Speaking during the press conference, John Ezuma, the Arua district commercial officer urged traders to embrace the expo which he said will help them to tap hidden opportunities.
“Most of our business communities are not aware of many opportunities that are in hiding for them as the business persons and more so, as the private sector in doing their businesses. This can only come into light when activities of this nature are organized,” Ezuma said.
“This business expo has been organized to bring various stakeholders; the private sector and the local government together to a common platform such that the business community comes to learn what they didn’t know. They come to discover what has been hidden for them. So, in this business expo, we shall be having various regulatory bodies including bodies that do direct registration of various businesses and those that license them,” Ezuma explained.
It is on this note that William Draku, the station head of Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) Arua Branch encouraged business owners to use the upcoming business expo to register their businesses in a bid to explore the various opportunities that may come their way.
“Once a business is registered, it becomes a legal entity for instance, if it is a company, that means it has the capacity to own property, to do business, to sue and to be sued. Apart from that a registered business gets what we call financial control to interrelate with financial institutions in a better way than it would have been the case if it dealt in an informal way,” Draku said, adding that registration also enables continuity of a business.
He cited examples of companies whose owners died a long time ago, saying the businesses continue running simply because they were registered, a reason he urged local traders to turn up and register their businesses.
Similarly, Caroline Ocaanda, a representative of the private sector said it is important for people to formalize their businesses.
“This business expo is being done in a very different way. We have been having trade shows here but we have not been doing it this way where I bring regulators to come and sensitize the business community to do things right and this is really exceptional. It is a very good opportunity for all those who are into business and those who are planning to do business,” Ocaanda said.
“As we are working with GIZ, we are actually looking at having a very strong linkage between the private sector and the government. We would like to align our activities with the plans of the local government that will enable us to guide the local economy as a team. Then we would like to send a very clear message for people to formalize their businesses because you will have many opportunities if you formalize your business,” Ocaanda advised.
Meanwhile Elizabeth Amen Daniels, the Obongi district Tourism Officer said during the exhibition, they will showcase the different types of fish caught from the River Nile in the West Nile region.
“It is going to be an opportunity for us to showcase the kind of fish we have. Instead of people traveling down there, they can still support us to get this fish from here. I believe even when someone is out there, they may be producing Sunflower but they don’t know where to get the market; Comboni Missionaries is going to come and say come I give you the market that you need. Simsim; very many districts in West Nile produce Simsim but they don’t know that Comboni Missionaries are in dire need of Simsim. So, this expo has come in to bridge the gap between the private sector and the government,” Amen emphasized.