By Hakim Wampamba
Investors in the small and medium enterprises have called for the restructuring of the incentives to reduce ambiguities that seem to favour foreign investors at the expense of local investors.
They argue that government’s failure to provide local investors the same incentives is affecting the country’s development.
On April 5, the state minister for Urban Development Isaac Musumba unveiled a plan to allocate one square mile of land to US-Senegalese musician and businessman, Akon, to construct a futuristic city dubbed Akon City.
In his words, Musumba said that the land will be made available to Akon and his team to harness resources and attract even more investors.
The decision has now sparked off debate on incentives given to foreign investors as compared to Ugandans.
John Walugembe, executive director of Federation for Small and Medium Enterprises said government should stop baby sitting foreign investors while ignoring locals.
“We want a fair playing field between foreign investors and local investors, that’s all,” Walugembe noted.
Morison Rwakakamba, a board member on the Uganda Investment Authority dispelled the claim.
“I think it is not true. Our business is to attract, promote, facilitate and deliver services to both local and foreign investors,” Rwakakamba said.
Rwakakamba added that the idea of the Akon City is also timely as the country is gearing towards increased power generation.
Lawyer Louis Namwaya disagreed with Rwakakamba, saying government should be more intentional in supporting local investors.
“If there are local investors and they are going to be with us, you should give them a better working environment than what we are seeing,” Namwaya said.
Additional reporting by Jonah Kirabo