Uganda has made progress in easing conditions for doing business in the past year, a new report suggests. The report by the Competitiveness and Investment Climate Strategy (CICS), a finance ministry unit, follows global indexes that ranked Uganda poorly in ease of doing business.
The report by the Competitiveness and Investment Climate Strategy (CICS), a finance ministry unit, follows global indexes that ranked Uganda poorly in ease of doing business.
In 2011, the World Bank’s Doing Business Index ranked Uganda 127 out of 183 economies. This year the Global Competitiveness Indicator (GCI), produced by the World Economic Forum, ranked Uganda 121 out of 142 economies. In East Africa, Uganda falls behind Rwanda, which is the African leader, Kenya and Tanzania.
The report, presented by the head of CICS, Peter Ngategize, says Uganda simplified the process of registering a company by going online and availing free-of-charge company forms which used to be a burden to the public.
The report cites the passing by parliament of the Companies Act which now introduces a one-person company. This is expected to encourage many sole proprietors to turn their businesses into formal companies.
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and National Social Security Fund (NSSF) both introduced one-page application forms to ease registration. To get a trading license from KCCA one needs only four days. In the case of NSSF, it takes a maximum of 20 minutes for an employer and 10 minutes for an employee in Kampala to get registered.
According to the report, the time and the number of procedures for getting electricity connection has reduced from 17 to five and the number of days have reduced from 90 to five days.
Paying taxes, another key indicator of how well a country is performing, also registered positive trends. The report says Uganda Revenue Authority eased paying taxes by introducing the e-tax mobile pay system which enables taxpayers paying three million and below to do so via the mobile phones.
Other successes, the report adds, came in registering property, getting credit, protecting investors and trading across borders.
Richard Jabo, a principal economist in the finance ministry, revealed that Uganda had to up its game, borrowing best practices from countries like Rwanda, Botswana and Mauritius.
Dr Ssebaggala Kigozi, the executive director of Uganda Manufacturers’ Association, welcomes the report saying the achievements, if enhanced, would boost businesses and the economy. He said business people do not require lots of bureaucracy.
Caroline Ndawula from the World Bank encouraged Uganda to keep doing more in easing doing business.
Ngategize said with the reforms, Uganda is expected to improve her rankings when the Doing Business Index for 2012 is released.