Ugandan officials outline investment opportunities as UK business summit ends

“Investing in Uganda is a sure deal to the success of your projects because of the prevailing excellent investment environment in the country.”

These were the words of Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa as he addressed investors from London on Friday during the Uganda-UK Trade and Investment Summit.

According to Tayebwa, the investors are guaranteed of security and a huge return on the investment through non-tax and tax incentives, a large market in the East African region, wider Africa, and access to free markets in China, Europe, and the United States.

“If you’re producing in Uganda, you sell anywhere in the East African Community duty-free, but it is also a get way to the rest of the continent, especially if you’re prepared to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area which we believe is going to transform the African continent,” Tayebwa said.

He added government was implementing measures such as availing efficient, reliable, and cheap electricity, faster internet, and good infrastructure in a bid to ease the cost of doing business.

“We have linked with the rest of the content and we have built enough human capital to support your investments and now we are looking at investing in them further to increase their purchasing power. Fighting poverty is our major strategy,” he said.

The 13th edition of the summit, which seeks to grow trade between UK and Uganda was convened under the theme, Unlocking Trade, Investment, and Export Potential.

It was attended by prominent industry leaders, investors, and ministers from both the UK and East Africa.

Uganda’s First Deputy Prime Minister Rebecca Kadaga listed tourism and investment in cross-border transport systems, especially on River Nile as areas for investment.

“River Nile is an area you can think about working on, especially in areas of tourism and water transport. There are also other transboundary projects such as railways that we can consider partnering together to ease the movement of goods in the East African region,” she said.

The Commissioner General of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), John Rujoki Musinguzi, highlighted to the summit that a number of exciting tax incentives and non-tax incentives for foreign investors. These include access to land in the industrial parks, facilitation for infrastructure needs, and policy advocacy for a conducive environment.

“The government of Uganda took a decision to identify and support investments, especially in nine strategic areas, including education, manufacturing, tourism, construction, health care and medical services, agriculture, ICT, logistics, and warehousing,” Musinguzi said.

He added that for each strategic sector, there are different tax exemptions.

“The market you’re looking at when you think of investing in Uganda is not just a Ugandan market but you’re able to sell goods in the East African market and to guarantee that, exemptions are really catered for in the East African Community Customs Management Act,” Musinguzi said.

“This means that any goods produced in Uganda will be transferred to Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, and DRC with no further taxation,” the taxman said.

Advantages in taxation policy

Musinguzi told investors that for areas such development of industrial parks, value-added tax is exempted right from “feasibility studies, design, construction, and all the materials used in setting up the industrial park.”

“If you are a foreign investor, it is assumed that for an industrial park, you will not invest less than $10 million but a Ugandan citizen in partnership with a foreign investor, then the threshold for investment reduces to only $300,000,” Musinguzi elaborated.

“If you want to invest outside Kampala (the capital city) to promote the creation of jobs and industries outside the city, the investment threshold even goes down,” he added.

The country’s Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Betty Amongi, assured the investors of the availability of both skilled and semi-skilled labour.

“I’m here to assure you that in Uganda you will get abundant and cheap labour that is also innovative and most qualified to help you strike your investment,” the minister noted.

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