Human rights activist Morrison Rwakakamba has appealed to Ugandans in the diaspora to take advantage of domestic investment incentives like free trade zone services to start up investments in the country.
Mr Morrison Rwakakamba has urged Ugandans in the diaspora to take advantage of domestic investor incentives like free trade zone services to start up investments back home.
According to Mr Rwakakamba who is also the founding chief executive of Agency for Transformation and Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) board member, government incentive structure is available to both domestic and foreign investors.
“These incentives are articulated in the investment code and tax code, with domestic investors needing only an investment of $ 50,000 (about Shs184 million) to qualify for a 10-year income tax and export tax exemption if you set up your business using the Country's free zone services or set up your business in Uganda's 23 Industrial Parks like Namanve Industrial Park, Mbale etc and you get access to free land,” he said.
Mr Rwakakamba’s comments were carried in an excerpt of a message to the diaspora this past weekend for the business edition of the Uganda Festival and Expo 2020, a virtual substitute to the annual Uganda Festival organised by Ugandans in North America under their umbrella body UNAA Causes with a theme; Economic Transformation during and After a Crisis.
He also clarified that foreign investors need to inject a minimum of $ 250,000 (Shs918m) and source 60 percent of their labor locally.
According to him, Uganda has the most affordable labour across Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The costs of doing business in Uganda are increasingly going down. Uganda is now a competitive centre. Uganda has the most affordable, trainable, skillable labour across the Sub-Saharan Africa,” Mr Rwakakamba said.
He reiterated that electricity is now down to 5 cents a kilowatt for manufacturers, which is also very competitive in Sub Saharan Africa.
He emphasized the need for the business community to seriously look at the intra African market, which is huge, with 49 percent of Uganda's exports going to Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Uganda has the most trade lines in Sub-Saharan Africa. Proper market context is very important, the East African Community free trade zone has a population of 190 million people with a GDP of $ 700 billion while the COMESA free trade zone has a population of 520 million people with a GDP of $ 2.4 trillion US dollars,” he said.
“Uganda is a gateway to several markets, we signed Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with Europe and we can export everything free except arms, the Country also is part of India/Africa free trade Agreement and the African Opportunity Act (AGOA) with the USA,” he added.
He reinforced the objectives of UIA like nurturing Small and Medium SMEs and he confirmed that the Authority was part of the group that negotiated the two trillion Uganda shillings the Uganda Government injected in Uganda Development Bank during Covid-19.
“We want to make sure that SMEs and the informal sector are targeted with low interest rates,” he added.