Ease, security and infrastructure for investors in UgandaJuly 8, 2022
Robert Mukiza, director-general of the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), talks to The Energy Year about the authority’s drive to simplify inbound investment and the country’s ambitions to create industrial centres and promote local content. The UIA promotes and facilitates both FDI and domestic investment in Uganda.
What key milestones have Uganda and the UIA passed in attracting investment?
One of the biggest milestones for the country is the final investment decision that was recently arrived at for the oil and gas project. It is the single biggest investment in Uganda since the country achieved independence. Second is the industrial park agenda where the government of Uganda seeks to develop 25 industrial parks in the next five years in line with H.E President Museveni’s vision to industrialise Uganda.
A third achievement is the UIA implementing the One-Stop-Centre for investors. Investors should not be burdened by unnecessary bureaucracy and should have one single interface with government in order to ease their business environment. Investment licences, business licences, work permits, construction permits, opening bank accounts, etc. should all be done in the one place. One of our key achievements at the UIA is reducing the time it takes to issue investment licences. In fact, if we have all the required documents available, investment licences can be issued by UIA within an hour.
What efforts is the country making to create more industrial parks to spur industrialisation?
H.E. the president directed that 25 industrial parks be built by 2025. Land for industrial parks has been provided free by local governments across the country; the land is unencumbered and will be provided free to investors. With the increased raw materials across the country, there will be enough feedstock to meet the demands of the various industries in the industrial parks. We have been exporting a lot of our agricultural produce and minerals in raw form, and we want to ensure that we process these raw materials and benefit from the full value chain of our resources. Implementing the industrial park agenda will be aimed at addressing this anomaly.
The industrial parks will be fully serviced with world-class infrastructure: roads, industrial water, sewage treatment plants and internet fibre cables. In addition, given that electricity is a key element for industrial park development, the government of Uganda has committed to providing electricity directly to these industrial parks for 0.5 US cents per kWh.
What objectives does the UIA hope to achieve within the year?
Our goals going forward are based on the president’s focus on industrialisation. Our number one priority is to develop 25 industrial parks by 2025. Another goal is to further simplify the ease of doing business in the country. Further investments in digitalisation will benefit us greatly and make us even more effective. We want to be able to deliver all investment- and business-related licences and certifications within a maximum of 48 hours. We shall remove all bureaucracy and ensure that investors easily start and operate their investments in Uganda.
Why is Uganda an attractive place for FDI?
A key decision for an investor is security of person and property. Uganda is a beacon of safety both for person and property in the region. An investor can make a long-term bet on Uganda and be sure that their investments and property are safe in the country. There are no capital restrictions in Uganda once the relevant taxes are paid; all profits can be repatriated from the country without restriction.
When a company domiciles in Uganda, they not only access Uganda’s market but the following markets quota-free and tax-free given that Uganda is a member of these regional trade blocs: 300 million people in the East African Community, 600 million people in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and 1.3 billion people under the African Continental Free Trade Area.
In addition, Uganda has trade agreements with the European Union under the “Anything but Arms” trade agreement and access to market for over 6,000 products quota- and tariff-free to the US market under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, as well as trade agreements with China. Investing and setting up shop in Uganda gives you access to all these markets quota- and tariff-free.