“Corruption is a Hindrance to Uganda’s Economic Growth,” Says President Museveni as he Launches the Electronic Investors Protection Portal

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni yesterday, 13th December 2023 launched the Electronic Investors Protection Portal (EIPP), a digital platform designed to safeguard investment processes in Uganda.

The ceremony took place at State House, Entebbe.

The portal which is an initiative of the State House Investors Protection Unit headed by Col. Edith Nakalema will among others; offer guidance to investors through access to authentic government sources, give a comprehensive reporting mechanism for investor inquiries and complaints and offer a robust enforcement and follow-up on reported issues, complemented by regular feedback to investors.

It will also offer a valuable bridge connecting investors with relevant Ministries, Departments, and Agencies as well as language translation features to accommodate non-English speaking investors.

While commissioning the portal, President Museveni commended Col. Nakalema for the initiative that has come in handy to support the historical mission of modern societies such as Uganda to create prosperity which in modern times is as a result of producing a good or a service and selling it either as an investor or an employee.

“This system, if there’s no way they can interfere with it, it will help. I therefore congratulate Col. Nakalema. I created the Investors Protection Unit because I wanted focus. I told Nakalema not to become a judge. If investors are fighting over land in the courts, those are their issues, but you look at the government officials who are supposed to facilitate investment, how they are facilitating or not facilitating that investment effort. That is all. Look at the investors in the industry, services and may be to some extent, the commercial agricultural sector,” the President said. 

President Museveni further explained that Uganda’s economy has been able to grow progressively due to the right policies by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government.

“Since Independence, I have been watching these African countries, they missed opportunities in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, even now some of them are still missing. Here in East Africa, we have all the examples. In Uganda, we couldn’t develop because we lacked capital and entrepreneurship and the reason was, policy mistakes where people like Obote of UPC confiscated the shares of the investors in 1970. He announced something he called the “Nakivubo Announcement” where he went and took shares of private companies and made them government shares,” he stressed.

“It was called nationalisation and in so doing, he was punishing and scaring away people with capital and entrepreneurship and killing the ones which were already here businesswise. When we were still struggling with that mistake, Idi Amin came in and for him, he physically chased the people with capital and entrepreneurship (Asians and Europeans), so this was Uganda.”

President Museveni revealed that from the beginning, the NRM opted to liberate the private sector where it has since allowed people with capital and entrepreneurship to invest in Uganda, a factor that has steered development in the country.

He however noted that the country’s economic growth would be much faster if there was no corruption. 

“Here we have improved the investment atmosphere by number one- the policies like freedom of the private sector, secondly-peace in the country and thirdly- infrastructure; but the growth would be much faster if we didn’t have corruption. This corruption is a hindrance. The corruption practices include bribes, they tell investors that we shall not give you license unless you bribe, we shall not give you the procurement/ tender unless you bribe. I have been hearing that. Then the other practices are the delays,” he noted.

“Also, blocking investors who have got a multiplier potential. You remember in parliament how they were attacking the people who want to roast/process our coffee here instead of exporting unprocessed. The multinationals which are exporting our unprocessed coffee were using our people in parliament to scare away the people who wanted to roast our coffee here. Another form of corruption is wanting to get shares in companies of people who want to do business here. Even me, they offer me shares that I should invest with them. I don’t want to invest with you. You come and invest, leave me alone. That is also another form of corruption, even if they give you offers, don’t accept.”

Gen. Museveni also cautioned government agencies in the fight against corruption to emphasize integrity while conducting their recruitments.

“Be careful about the people you recruit, don’t recruit people by looking at their papers. In these agencies, don’t bring papers but integrity. Don’t bring people who are looking for jobs. Don’t have too many of them, have few but totally reliable,” he said. 

The Minister of State for Investment and Privatisation, Hon. Evelyn Anite thanked President Museveni for promoting Uganda’s socio-economic transformation agenda through his wise and steady leadership.

“Your Excellency, when you came into power in 1986, you assured Ugandans that your coming to power was not just a mere change of guard, but it was a fundamental change. Your Excellency for that you are a celebrated leader and I want to thank you for first of all liberating Uganda politically, socially and for tirelessly fighting for the economic empowerment and liberation of Uganda out of poverty,” Hon. Anite said.

Hon. Anite also commended Col. Nakalema and the innovators for coming up with the digital solution that will be used by the President to monitor the investment climate in the country in real time.

“What is different this time is that the report is going to go directly to you, and you will be able to know who has failed Uganda,” she said.

On her part, Col. Nakalema informed the President that the electronic portal will solve the challenges that are being faced by investors in the country.

“As per your guidance, we work closely with all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) responsible for promoting, supporting and protecting investors in this country. Your Excellency, while these MDAs are delivering on their respective mandate, some of the concerns raised by investors include delays in getting feedback from some of the MDAs and that at times they do not get or receive feedback at all,” Col. Nakalema said.

“Some of these delays are motivated by corrupt tendencies. Aware of the challenges, Your Excellency guided us to leverage technology in order to limit human interaction that is manipulated by the corrupt to derail or even to frustrate investors. We engaged the National Information Technology Authority- Uganda (NITA-U) and the key government stakeholders in the investment sector and we have worked diligently to develop EIPP for Your Excellency’s monitoring of all our agencies,” she added.

Col. Nakalema further noted that the EIPP will offer protection to investors by guiding them to government MDAs for authentic information and it will save them from falling in the hands of wrong elements like fraudsters.

“The portal has a reporting mechanism through which investors can inquire or file complaints. The electronic portal also enables information and follow up on investors’ complaints as well as giving quick feedback to all the investors,” she asserted.

“Your Excellency, the electronic portal also enables you to monitor and oversee all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies and how they address investors’ concerns. Therefore, it is Your Excellency’s tool to monitor all of us. The portal will be hosted by NITA-U Uganda which hosts all other government IT systems and will be managed by the State House Investors Protection Unit.”

The Executive Director of NITA-U, Dr. Hatwib Mugasa told the President that the digital portal is easy to use, and it will achieve its desired goal of protecting the investors.

“Through the various brainstorming sessions with the government MDAs, the private sector and using the concept that Dr. Ron Kawamara presented to the team, we had to come up with a solution which we got from an idea. NITA-U worked tirelessly with other agencies and key stakeholders in the investor ecosystem to ensure that the Investors are addressed through a digital solution,” he said.

Meanwhile, the State House Investors Protection Unit was established early this year by President Museveni to promote and protect a thriving investment climate in Uganda.

The event was also attended by the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury (PSST)- Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Mr. Ramathan Ggoobi, the Permanent Secretary-Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Ms. Aminah Zawedde, Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) Registrar General, Ms. Mercy Kainobwisho, among other stakeholders.