March 16, 2014

Gov’t Approves UIA’s One-Stop-Business Center

Cabinet has approved a proposal to turn Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) into a One–Stop business center, a move that is intended to create efficiency and streamline investments in Uganda.

Dr. Frank Sebbowa
Dr. Frank Sebbowa

The revelation was made by Information Minister Namayanja Rose Nsereko on Thursday last week who explained that the move by government was intended to reduce on the time, number of procedures, costs of registering a business and obtaining other secondary licenses and regulatory burden on businesses.

Eng. Dr. Frank Sebbowa, the Executive Director of UIA in a telephone interview with Red Pepper confirmed the development and said that the “One-Stop-Center at UIA will work simultaneously with E-Investment a move he says will greatly help make Uganda more investor friendly and competitive.

Sebbowa said, “E-Investment will enable an investor to make an application for an investment license from anywhere in the world, by simply submitting their application, scanned copies of their bank statements to assess the financial capabilities, business plan and ideas and the investor’s physical address. This data will be entered electronically and license is processed, so investors are given the opportunity to track its progress up to the time of issuing of the license”.

The E-Investment process will enable investors register their company at the Uganda Registration Service Bureau, then this data is captured by UIA to be used to process investment license also the same information can be shared by URA for processing the TIN number.

Bank of Uganda and National Environment Authority together with other agencies all have their officials at UIA. Initially, it took investors more than a month to acquire an investment license because time was spent checking through a number of Requirements before approving and issuing of the licenses to the investor.

But with the new developments, the time frame has been revised and is meant to take 7days from the 30days known initially.

Although, Sebbowa says that with the E-investment, an investment license will be acquired within 1-3days provided all the necessary documentation by the investor are availed. “I believe that in other simpler cases the process could even take 6 hours.

The processing of the investment license will be processed immediately the application is submitted. However, during the cabinet meeting, it was observed that UIA had not yet operationalized the “one-stop-center system” that had been launched last year.

Yet this according to cabinet is prescribed under section 6(c) of the Investment Code Act 1991 which stipulates that one of the functions of the Authority is licensing, authorizations, approvals and permits required to enable any approval granted by the authority to have full effect’’. Dr. Sebbowa acknowledged that although there have been some delays in fully operationalising of the one-stop-center, the entity has registered some success since the inception of the one-stop-center and affirmed that equipments are being put in place to ensure full operationalization of this venture.

Uganda Investment Authority will therefore operate a dedicated One-Stop-Center web portal (www.ugandainvest.go.ug) that will comprehensively take care of all core requirements of a One-Stop-Centre, including guiding information for investors.

By Prisca Wanyenya

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