President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has reassured investors of the government’s commitment to support them so that they help the country to steer its socio-economic development agenda.
“The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives should capture information of all these people so that we give them support because these are not very difficult to support,” he said.
The President made the remarks today during the Presidential Investors Conference at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds.
The one-of-a-kind investors conference enabled President Museveni to meet face to face with investors from across Uganda who operate from several sectors such as agriculture and value addition, manufacturing, services and ICT. The President and the participants discussed pertinent issues aimed at boosting investments in the country.
During the interaction, President Museveni explained that the investment atmosphere in Uganda starts with raw materials.
“The raw materials are in the following areas. Number one is commercial agriculture where mainly Ugandans produce agricultural products that need processing and as we talk even today, we have got many candidates for processing like coffee, fruits, cereals like maize, cassava, bananas, Irish potatoes, cotton, beef, milk, leather and so on,” he said.
“Therefore, this is one cluster of opportunities to add value to all those and there are sectors which are good examples. You take the sector of milk where I have been involved since the 1960s when I was a student leader mobilizing the people in Ankole to get out of lack of money because they had land and cows but no money and that is how we started that campaign. The milk sector started with zero; when we came into government in 1986, we were importing powdered milk for the towns from Denmark but Uganda now is producing 5 billion litres of milk a year and much of it is being processed.”
The President reaffirmed that the investors especially in the commercial agriculture sector have potential to develop and the government is willing to help them achieve their goal.
“As long as they can prove to you as the Industry Ministry that they have the market where to sell these products, we can plan to support them. And even if we don’t have enough money, we can support them in part because these people are ready to add value.”
President Museveni further directed the Minister of State for Industry, Hon. David Bahati to get a list of investors especially in the milk, fruit and fisheries sectors so that the government can see a way to support them.
“When we are talking about investment, we are talking about linking the Processors /manufacturers with the raw material producers. Now apart from commercial agriculture and the mining sector, then you go to the service sector like hotels, transport, healthcare. Those also need a clear channel,” he asserted.
“What I would like to advise is that don’t undercook what you are doing, take these products like milk as cash products. With the milk now, the whole chain is organised. Similarly, if it is like fruits, we are also sure that even with 1 acre you can get Shs60m each year. Therefore, that chain should be completely linked. The factory should be linked with farming so that the factory has got enough raw materials and the farmers have enough money.”
President Museveni also disclosed that the government in one year has injected USD 230 million in Uganda Development Bank (UDB) to help investors who need support.
“The problem is not money, the problem is organisation and linkage,” he said.
“Now, once you handle the issue of money, then the other issue is infrastructure. The government is handling that. When we finish infrastructure, then we focus on the market. The Ugandan and East African Community market is there and that of Africa, even that outside Africa.”
President Museveni on the other hand urged the investors to take advantage of the 25 Industrial parts across the country to set up factories.
“Those who want to work, the industrial park land is available free of charge.”
The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija thanked President Museveni for shepherding Uganda amidst global challenges occasioned by Covid-19, war in Ukraine, floods in Uganda among other shocks that have strained the economic flow.
“Your Excellency, your steady leadership has kept the economy resilient with low inflation rate and increasing investment flow in the areas of agriculture, value addition manufacturing, ICT, oil and gas, tourism and services,” Hon. Kasaija said.
He also informed the President that the Presidential Investors Conference is aimed at discussing and finding solutions to the challenges of doing business in Uganda and the region.
“Your Excellency, the government has undertaken significant reforms to streamline processes and reduce bureaucratic hurdles. Our goal is to make it easier for investors to set up and operate their businesses in Uganda,” Hon. Kasaija said.
“The Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) One stop center is a testimony to this, and it serves as a single point of contact for all, ensuring a swift process for investors. The one stop center is designed to facilitate a seamless experience for investors providing a range of services under one roof. Whether it is a company registration, tax permits for environmental impact assessment or work permits, our team at the one stop center is here to assist you at every step. This approach saves time and reduces the cost of doing business, thus making Uganda an attractive destination for investments.”
The Minister added that apart from the one stop center at UIA, the Ministry of Trade has also approved a series of approaches to improve the business climate in Uganda like simplifying tax procedures, enhancing infrastructure like electricity and investment in human capital development.
The Minister of State for Investment and Privatisation, Hon. Evelyn Anite noted that the conference is meant to help resolve the challenges affecting the investors in the country.
“I want to thank you, Your Excellency, for saying that we should continue with the program, and we listen to the challenges of the investors which you codenamed Baraza. We will go ahead with the presentations and answer some of the issues they had raised to the government before,” she said.
The conference was also attended by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Norbert Mao, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury at the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Ramathan Ggoobi, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner General, John Musinguzi, UIA leadership, foreign and local investors, among others.