What you need to know:
- “Uganda’s economy can easily grow into a trillion USD economy if value is added to our raw materials. We have a wide spectrum of raw material in Uganda and all that is needed is value addition and there will be no reason for poverty,” President Museveni told the more than 700 participants that attended the business forum.
Lohana International Business Forum came to a close last evening with a call from President Museveni urging business elites and investors from the influential global Lohana Indian community to invest in value addition.
And in return, those who will establish value addition facilities in the country will be afforded numerous incentives, including access to free land as well as multiple tax exemptions and holidays.
The three-day investment summit dubbed “Africa Calling” held at Speke Resort & Conference Centre in Munyonyo, Kampala, looked at not only mobilising quality investments but also exploring a renewed commitment by the stakeholders to build better community business, investment and trade connections.
In his remarks, Mr Museveni lauded notable members of Lohana in the country such as property mogul Sudhir Ruparelia, Madhvani family Uganda and the Mehta family for their efforts to interest the Lohana global community into considering Uganda as a viable investment destination.
But he strongly urged that only those willing to add value to the abundant raw materials would be received with open arms.
“Uganda’s economy can easily grow into a trillion USD economy if value is added to our raw materials. We have a wide spectrum of raw material in Uganda and all that is needed is value addition and there will be no reason for poverty,” President Museveni told the more than 700 participants that attended the business forum.
The President held the view that Uganda not only loses revenue as a result of exporting raw material, but also foregoes jobs that should have been created domestically. This problem, he said is across the economic sector, urging the partcipants to plug that gap as Chinese are already doing. He encouraged a competition between the Lohana and the Indian investors in general to embark on a competition with Chinese in establishing value addition facilities in Uganda. According to Uganda Investment Authority figures, there are 1900 factories owned by Indians and owned by Chinese 900.
Agro-processing, leather, minerals, ICT and pharmaceutical industries are some of the low-hanging fruits to embark on.
In an interview, the chairperson of Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Mr Morrison Rwakakamba, noted that the forum brings together a community (Lohana) known globally for their business acumen. He revealed that so far about five companies made presentations with a view to invest about $4 billion in total in the areas of manufacturing, agro-processing, ICT sector, pharmaceuticals, real estate and banking.
Already members of Lohana are involved in mining, agro processing, hospitality industry and ICT.
Part of the requirement for incentives, according to Mr Rwakakamba, is: “We require that at least 70 percent of the people they employ should be Ugandans, and should be able to pay PAYE such that the country can have revenues to deploy in building infrastructure, health services and schools.”
As for the Lohana Indian community Investors, love is in the air already. Their Global President, Mr Satish Vithalani, cannot wait to have further engagement on how their members can deploy their capital here. He described Uganda as an amiable investment destination.