What you need to know:
- Government hopes to have registered a total of 873,546 businesses by the 2026/27 financial year
Government has officially started the mass registration of informal businesses from which it expects to earn at least Shs90b in the next four years.
The registration, which will be spearheaded by Uganda Services Registration Bureau (URSB), seeks to eliminate business informality as well as widen the tax base.
Speaking at the launch of the business registration strategy, Mr Ramathan Ggoobi, the secretary to the Treasury and Ministry of Finance permanent secretary, said formalisation of business was a catalyst for economic growth, noting that the exercise would be free of bureaucratic hurdles and had been simplified for entrepreneurs and business people to understand.
“The expected result of registration is being added to the registration. A total of 873,546 businesses will be registered by 2026/27 [financial year] and [this] will yield non-tax revenue of about Shs90.25b,” he said, noting that intuitively, entrepreneurs would want to hide away from tax as much as possible, but the incentive for “formalisation is that government can be able to support you to grow your business after which government can make revenue from a business that makes money”.
Mr Ggoobi also noted that businesses that have refused to formalise have been losing out on a number of government benefits such as the small business recovery fund of Shs200b as well as failing to access capital from financial institutions.
Ms Mercy Kainabwisho, the URSB registrar general, said the initiative will be key in shaping the business formalization agenda, given that it will reach every household, noting that it is difficult to talk about household incomes when a number of households in Uganda have never registered a single business.
“Government decided that this financial year, everybody from grassroots should register a business," she said.