Uganda to charge more for investment licenses
April 24–Uganda wants to attract more quality investors with plans to increase the financial threshold from $100,000 to $250,000 before a license is issued by the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) and in light of hundreds of so-called investors jumping into petty trading.
Lately, small business operators in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, have loudly protested against what they see as unfair competition from especially Chinese business people dealing in products once seen as the preserve of locals. Investment license recipients also qualify for several incentives including tax holidays which has allowed many foreign business people to exploit this avenue by becoming retailers rather than manufacturers. Several Chinese have even opened up mini-supermarkets in the suburbs of Kampala.
Evelyn Anite, the state minister responsible for investments in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has said, “We did not have a clear policy when they were coming in and so they exploited the loopholes in the law. But with the new policy all these problems will be resolved.”
A revised Investment Code is being drafted in which among things, will require local investors lay $100,000 instead of the present $50,000 to get a license. These proposals are subject to an amendment to the current law being drafted and tabled in Parliament. However the government will continue on efforts to make investing in Uganda as straight-forward and transparent as possible.
UIA was set up in 1991 as a semi autonomous government agency operating in partnership with the private sector to drive national economic growth and development.
Two years ago, UIA launched the One Stop Centre for Investors web portal, at www.eBiz.go.ug. This offers businesses and individuals one entry point to apply for various licenses and permits, required for doing business. Government MDAs associated with the One Stop Centre include Uganda Registration Services Board, National Environment Management Authority, Uganda Bureau of Standards, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Directrate of Citizenship and Immigration Control and the Uganda Revenue Authority.