It now takes three hours to register a business, says URSB  

Government is seeking to leverage on increased business registration to reduce informalities. Photo / File 

What you need to know:

  • URSB says that automation of its services has grown to 85 percent which has significantly improved turn around time 

Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) has indicated that it now takes between three and four hours to register a business. 

In details contained in the 2022/23 Annual Report, Ms Mercy Kainobwisho, the URSB registrar general, said the Bureau had automated and deployed the Online Business Registration System, which had simplified the registration regime and contributed to a reduction in turnaround time from between three to seven days to just hours. 

In 2022, URSB operationalised the Online Business Registration System that  is fully integrated with the National Identification and Registration Authority and Uganda Revenue Authority to support end-to-end seamless registration transactions and processes. 

Initially, the system had experienced some challenges but URSB indicated it gradually stabilised in the reporting period, leading to growth in uptake of business registration services, which on average increased by 58.4 percent. 

During the period, the report noted, registration of companies was done within three to four hours, while registering a business name had now reduced to just 30 minutes from 24 hours. 

Registering legal documents reduced to just within one hour while conducting searches and certification of documents was instant. 

Previously, the World Bank, under its Doing Business reports, which were discontinued in 2021 due to irregular reporting and unethical conduct among its staff, had indicated that Uganda continued to face challenges in terms of registering businesses because of a manual filling system that would take somewhere between 10 to 15 days. 

However, in its report URSB noted that the “level of automation of services has grown from 65 percent in the 2021/22 financial year to 85 percent in the 2022/23 financial,” boosted by the full implementation of the Online Business Registration System. 

During the period, URSB reported a 28 percent growth in the number of new companies it registered, which grew from 18,614 to 23,789. 

The report also notes that it registered a massive growth in business name reservations by 203 percent, which rose from just 7,406 to 22,437, while registration of business names slightly dropped by 2 percent from 27,710 to 27,104. 

However, URSB noted that there was a 165 percent growth in dissolution of companies, which rose from 20 to 53, while 154 companies initiated voluntary winding up proceedings. 

Business formalisation remains one of the key aspects through which government is seeking to achieve the strategic goal of enhancing formalization of the economy, which will be key in widening the tax base and accountable service delivery.