Local investors decry dire state of roads, over taxation in Wakiso

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Investors in Wakiso district have implored  government to  urgently intervene in the problem of poor roads and over taxation by local authorities.

During the 2023 Wakiso Investment Conference organised by Uganda Development Bank in Entebbe under the theme, "harnessing investment opportunities", the  local investors said the poor road network is a challenge to their businesses.

"I must say, we find it challenging in a sense that Wakiso has poorly maintained road network. The bigger percentage of the roads in Wakiso is still under murram grade and still need to be regularly maintained which is not the case," Dr.Dennis Ngabirano, the CEO of Sums Food Industries Limited said.

He said they get challenges taking finished products to the market.

Dr.Ngabirano also raised concern over the tax administration which he said is crippling many businesses.

"You find that there's a factory signage on the road side, UNRA is asking for revenue and the municipal council is also asking for revenue for the same signage, I find that as double taxation."

He further explained that on top of them paying corporation tax, local income taxes, VAT, there are many other taxes  they have to pay.

"You find that we also go ahead and pay what municipal authority call property rates. If a factory is designed to do production of a given product, why must I continue to pay property rates for the same local commercial investments yet I pay trading licence, mobile vending taxes. I find that multiple taxation from the same entities."

Dr. Ngabirano proposed that gazette a number of industrial parks would help to  decongest the district and at the same time will have a much better environment to do production and also set up a much better facilities other than operating in areas not designed for industrial purposes.

The Uganda development forum vice chairman and Justice Minister Nobert Mao said the conference has helped them hear complaints from investors in Wakiso, mentioning excessive taxation from URA, extortion, corruption in both local and central government and bad infrastructure.

He promised to take the report to both local and central government.

"This financial year, all districts have got shs1 billion  for road maintenance. In addition to this money,all district and municipalities will get funding for road maintenance."

The State Minister  for Kampala Metropolitan Affairs, Kabuye Kyofatogabye  said government has already released money to construct roads in the area.

"You are going to see a lot of work going on ,starting next year  in January,  because next month, August and December, we will be going through contracting processes but by January the actual work is starting. Government will start with Namulanda Road to serve the government facilities in Bwebajja, Nakawuka Road, Buloba Nsangi, Matugga-Wakiso and Sentema Road ," he said.

Dr. Joseph Muvawala, the Executive Director National Planning Authority (NPA) told journalists that they are going to do all major roads in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area because over 70% of the country's non agricultural GDP is work in that area.

"Every district and municipality will get an additional shs1 billion for road maintenance."

He added that government is looking at roads that connect to the capital city to reduce travel time of dwellers but also create a conducive environment for doing business.

"If this country is to grow very fast, we need to invest fast so that we get money to distribute to other areas who are very poor."

The Director for Credit at Uganda Development Bank Limited (UDB) Samuel Edem-Maitum said the bank will support local engineering firms to take up road construction opportunities to support local content.

"In these road construction projects that are going to start, there must be a certain percentage of local content but for you to effectively bid, you need local content and you need to be able to raise those bank and performance guarantees to execute those contracts in that framework. As UDB, we will provide those requirements to local companies and will also provide them with contract and asset financing for them to execute those contracts,” Edem-Maitum said.

He  said UDB will also build the capacity of local firms to be able to handle bigger contracts locally at a much lower cost.

"A number of local firms have already submitted applications for financing ahead of bidding slated for August."

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