Uganda improves in investment destination ranking

Ms Christina Malmberg Calvo, the World Bank Group Uganda country manager.

Kampala- Uganda’s move to allow online registration of businesses, make faster electricity connections and expand access to credit information, have improved the country as an investment destination.

This is according to the World Bank Doing Business Report 2016, released on Wednesday.

Uganda jumped 13 places from 132 to 122 out of 189 economies surveyed in the last 12 months.
In the sub-Saharan Africa (SAA) region, the report says Uganda is the 12th best rank in the sub-Saharan Africa region out of 47 economies.

“It is also one of the 35 economies in SSA out of 47 that implemented a reform over the past year,” says the new report.
Even with the improvement, Uganda still lags behind Rwanda and Kenya, which jumped 21 places to 108 in the rankings.

With Uganda’s economy registering slowed Foreign Direct Investment, weak Shilling, high interest rates and rise in commodity prices, the report offers some positive news.
The Uganda Registration Services Bureau and Kampala City Council Authority started online business license applications. This has improved the procedure and also brought several businesses into the tax bracket. Additionally, business incorporation fees were reduced.

Positive reforms
The report also highlights Umeme and the Electricity Regulatory Authority reduced delays for new electricity connections by deploying more customer service engineers and reducing the time needed for the inspection and metre installation.

The third reform was in credit area; the report says in Uganda the credit bureau expanded borrower coverage to 5 per cent by improving access to credit information.

The World Bank Group Uganda country manager, Ms Christina Malmberg Calvo, while addressing guests at her office, said there are a number of business environment reforms in the pipeline here in Uganda, and if fully implemented would lead to increased transparency in agencies facilitating the sector and improved compliance by businesses.

She said: “Improving tax administration to broaden the tax base and reduce the burden on the already compliant tax payers will lead to annual private sector cost savings in excess of $4m (Shs14b) and revenue enhancement to government of Uganda in excess of 2 per cent of GDP.”

She added: “Business process re-engineering and full automation of construction permit and business inspection processes will lead to annual cost savings for the private sector in excess of $100m (Shs356b).”

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