By David Rupiny
The Uganda Investment Authority is assuring both foreign and domestic investors that its online (electronic) one-stop centre is fully operational, providing full access to dozens of investment-related services offered by 14 investment support agencies.
This is in addition to services offered at the physical one-stop centre located at Plot 22, TWED Plaza on Lumumba Avenue in the capital, Kampala. Sanitizing equipment is in place to ensure hygiene and no spread of germs.
Although Uganda has not yet reported any confirmed case of COVID-19, our immediate neighbours Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo have had cases reported. It is our hope that the private sector in Uganda and the business communities in our region develop resilience during this period.
At Uganda Investment Authority, our outlook is that the disease will negatively affect investments in the short term, but dependent on how long the pandemic takes to clear, not only in Uganda but also globally.
We are closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its impact on investment conditions in Uganda and globally. Specifically for Uganda, headwinds are already being felt in investment priority areas like tourism, transport and logistics and agriculture (particularly horticulture), amongst others.
As the secretariat of the Presidential Investors’ Roundtable (PIRT), we have proposed some strategic interventions to reduce the negative impacts of the pandemic on the business community and the economy. Some of the priority areas are tourism, oil and gas, agriculture and transport and logistics.
The proposed interventions have been submitted to the Presidency, the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and other relevant ministries, departments and agencies.
In President’s address to the nation on COVID-19, H. E. President Yoweri Museveni outlined a raft of measures the government has taken to stave off the disease. These include, amongst others, suspending meetings with high population concentration like schools, religious, cultural and political gatherings, weddings and entertainment spots.
The government has also imposed travel restrictions on visitors from 17 countries with what it terms high cases of coronavirus. They are China, Italy, France, South Korea, Germany, United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Malaysia, Pakistan and San Marino.
Most of these countries are source countries for foreign direct investment in Uganda and as such almost all the business delegations that had planned investment exploratory visits to Uganda have postponed their travels until the pandemic peters out.
It is worth noting that in the period from December 2019, when the first COVID-19 cases were reported, to March 17, 2019 (the period that has seen exponential increase in cases of the virus), Uganda Investment Authority has been able to license 89 investment projects with planned investment value of 247 million dollars and planned employment of 7,873.
Given the potential impacts of COVID-19 on investments in Uganda, including travels, we note that many clients, particularly foreign ones, will have challenges in accessing services at our physical one-stop centre. We encourage investors and other stakeholders to access the same services online at www.ebiz.go.ug
Investment-related services accessible online at www.ebiz.go.ug are those offered by the following investment support agencies: Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda Registration Services Bureau, Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control, Uganda Revenue Authority, and Kampala Capital City Authority.
Others are National Environment Management Authority, Uganda National Bureau of Standards, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Free Zones license issuance, Diamond Trust Bank, Umeme (power distribution), and The Giants Club (tourism services).
The services include, amongst others, business and investment advisory, investment license issuance, reservation of business or company name, new company registration and issuance of certificate and work permit issuance.
Other services offered are tax identification number issuance, city operator identification number issuance, trading license issuance, environmental impact assessment certificate, banking services, product certification, land verification, utility supply services and free zones license issuance.
For the period December, 2019 to March, 2020 (coinciding with the coronavirus pandemic), unique transactions on the one-stop centre electronic portal hit the 22,000 mark. Our target for 2019/2020 financial year is 30,000 transactions but by December of 2019 we had already had over 40,000 transactions, surpassing the target.
At Uganda Investment Authority, it has been our strategy to offer most investment services online in order to limit human-to-human interaction, reduce red tape, reduce processing times, and achieve maximum efficiency.
For emphasis, Uganda Investment Authority is a one-stop centre for investors, offering both physical and virtual accesses to a bundle of key investment-related products and services under one roof.
Other investment-related information can be got on our website www.ugandainvest.go.ug, as well as our social media platforms Facebook: Invest in Uganda and Twitter: @ugandainvest
For more information or feedback you can reach us by phone: +256(0)414 301100, or by email at [email protected]
The Board, Management and Staff of Uganda Investment Authority reiterate their commitment to continue fulfilling its mandate of attracting quality and sustainable investments, both local and foreign, in order to boost economic growth and development by offering effective, efficient and relevant services.
The author David Rupiny is a Media Relations Officer, Uganda Investment Authority