Gov’t, investors agree to dialogue to improve investment climate

This year’s review meeting of the Presidential Investors’ Roundtable (PIRT) kicked off Tuesday with both government officials and investors agreeing on the need to dialogue in order to have a win-win investment climate.

The annual three-day review meeting at State House Entebbe is aimed at driving government ministries, departments and agencies to improve service delivery as well as the country’s competitiveness in the global economy.

PIRT, now in its sixth phase, is a high level forum initiated by President Yoweri Museveni to bring together a select group of domestic and foreign investors to advise the government on incentives, policies and other areas that will result in improved competitiveness of the country in attracting investments.

Today’s sessions on oil and gas and minerals value addition were led by the Right Honourable Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda. The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) coordinates PIRT with Uganda Investment Authority as the secretariat.

Commenting on key achievements in the oil and gas sector, Rugunda said as a result of dialogue under the PIRT framework, amonst others, great changes have been made in the oil and gas landscape and significant milestones made in the realization of First Oil.

On minerals value addition, Rugunda said the minerals sector has been prioritized in National Development Plan III as one of the major pathways in achieving Vision 2040, creating jobs and ensuring economic growth.

Key issues in oil and gas sector that both the government and private sector sides agreed to work on include finalization of all stumbling blocks to the final investment decision, expediting negotiations of the crude oil pipeline agreement, harmonization of Uganda and Tanzania’s legal regimes in relation to the crude oil pipeline.

Others are resolution of negative sentiments around laws, policies and regulations on oil and gas, allowing Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) take up stakes in oil ventures and ensuring quick response to concerns of both sides, particularly conclusion of the production sharing agreement grandfathering and stabilization and speeding up of the formation of the local content fund.

On minerals value addition, key issues included dialoguing on certain aspects of the new mining bill, especially that relating to production sharing agreements, improvement of infrastructure in mining areas, building human resource capacity, exploration and mining of new minerals, creation of government minerals database and certification requirements.

Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija, said mechanisms have been put in place to handle investors expeditiously.

Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Goretti Kitutu, said government will continue to dialogue with the private sector in order to get win-win outcomes.

State Minister for Privatisation and Investment, Evelyne Anite, said government is keen on attracting the right investors in the mining sector, revealing that a new investor is being sourced to run Kilembe copper mines.

The Chair of the Board of Uganda Investment Authority, Emely Kugonza, said through PIRT a number of reforms have been generated and implemented. These include, amongst others, inclusion of over 70 percent of private sector tax proposals and funding for geological aerial survey in Karamoja.

Baroness Linda Chalker, an active promoter of investments in Uganda, said there is a need for collaborative work and quick decision-making in order to move investments forward in order to realize the benefits.

PIRT VI focuses on tourism, competitiveness and ease of doing business, minerals value addition, oil and gas, transport and logistics and agricultural value addition.

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