What you need to know:
- This was after Ugandans said they are being subjected to what they described as a tedious process of visa application and fees before travelling to South Africa yet the two countries enjoy good bilateral relations.
President Museveni has assured Ugandan investors that the Government of South Africa will solve the issue of entry visas to the country since it is one of the crucial requirements in doing business.
“On the issue of the visas, I am sure the Government of South Africa is going to solve this because there is no way you can do business without multiple entry visas. If I am doing business, I should go any time I want to travel, I should not come to look for a new visa every time,” Mr Museveni said.
The President made the remarks on Wednesday at a business breakfast meeting with investors from Uganda and South Africa in Pretoria. This came after a two-day business forum at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand.
This was after Ugandans said they are being subjected to what they described as a tedious process of visa application and fees before travelling to South Africa yet the two countries enjoy good bilateral relations.
The meeting was organised by the chairperson of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Export and Industrial Development (PACEID), Mr Odrek Rwabwogo, to brief the President on the outcome of the two-day business engagements between Uganda and South African business people.
Mr Charles Mbire, the board chairperson of MTN Uganda, assured the South African investors of a conducive business climate in Uganda.
“I appeal to investors from South Africa to come to Uganda. I assure you we are the Pearl of Africa, we are landlocked, but we are very land linked. Let’s work together to develop our countries,” Mr Mbire said.
Equally, the President assured South African investors that his government is not interested in levying direct tax.
Mr Museveni said: “If you come and start a factory even if you don’t pay corporate tax for 10 years, the people you have employed are earning income and they are now paying income tax.”
“You know Ugandans like enjoying life once you pay them their salary, they will spend some of that money in bars and so pay tax indirectly,” he added. Mr Museveni also assured Ugandan business people that his government will support them to grow their value-addition businesses.
“I don’t have money to support consumption, but I have got all the money to support production. We shall get all the money to support all the business people dealing in value addition of our raw materials,” he said.
The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa, reiterated that the Ugandan government has already reduced the cost of doing business when it comes to energy tariffs.
“I can assure you that the low tariff rates have already been approved and we have removed the monopoly of the single buyer model,” she said, adding: “Every company will now be free to invest in generation, transmission and distribution and we shall reach you at an affordable tariff of 5 US cents.”
To improve the business environment in both countries, Mr Rwabwogo revealed that they are going to appoint trade representatives who will work hand-in-hand to push their business agenda.
President hails army training school
Meanwhile, President Museveni has commended Kaweweta Military Training School for training South Africans during their liberation struggle.
Speaking at the commissioning of 782 cadet officers at the training school in Nakaseke District yesterday, the President said it is because of the above role that he was awarded with the prestigious ‘Order of South Africa’ medal.
The medal, awarded to Mr Museveni on Wednesday, was in recognition of his contribution in the liberation of the people of South Africa from colonialism.
“You remember those South Africans were here in Kaweweta for training between 1989 until when they finally got their independence. The medal they were giving me was not for my Rwakitura cows. It was for you who supported them so I received it on your behalf,” Mr Museveni said.
The President urged the commissioned officers to emphasise patriotism in their service, maintain good health and avoid corruption, saying it would tarnish their image.