FAQs

Investment Licence

Does UIA help investors get Machinery and Land?

UIA is a neutral party which cannot directly recommend individual machinery suppliers. However UIA can in a generic manner point investors to possible suppliers of machinery.

On the other hand, UIA holds government that it can lease to investors. Additionally, UIA has an active Land Registry  comprising of vetted privately owned land and frequently guides investors to negotiate with the landlords.

Does Uganda Investment Authority cater for Ugandans?

Yes. UIA encourages Ugandans at home and in the Diaspora to invest in Uganda.

How can I become a member of UIA?

UIA is a Government Agency but not a membership organization. Its doors are open for those seeking and those with investments in Uganda.

Does Uganda Investment Authority have funds from which investors with investment license can benefit ?

UIA does not have any investment funds for investors to borrow from to implement their projects. However UIA has a network of partners local and international where prospective investors can seek finance information from. Additionally government and other partners provide funds for UIA to provide professional support to investors particularly those in the SME sector.

Do I need a local partner to set up an investment?

No. It is not a requirement to have a local partner’s participation before foreign firms carry out business in Uganda. The investment and trade environment in Uganda is liberalised where 100% foreign holding is permissible.

Who is an investor?

An individual or a legal entity duly engaged in the business of value adding, manufacturing and like activities which create jobs, introduce new technology and pay due taxes when s/he makes a profit.

Are there any fees/charges payable to obtain the Investment License?

The Investment Licenses in Uganda are free of charge.

How long does it take to obtain the Investment license?

It takes a maximum of three (3) working days and if all the required information is submitted the Investment License can be issued in 24 hours.

How much should one invest to obtain the approval for the Investment License?

Foreign Investors require a minimum of US$ 100,000 for their investment project to qualify for an Investment License. For local investors the minimum requirement is US $ 50,000.

What are the benefits of having an Investment License?

The license gives added confidence to the holder to engage third parties when making arrangements necessary for establishing the business enterprise in the license.

  1. It assists in getting the secondary licenses.
  2. It assists in recommending the investor for various services ie Commercial Banks, Development Partners, Equity Funders etc.
  3. Assists by recommending and following up acquisition of work permits.
  4.  It is a requirement for allocation of land in Government Industrial Parks and serves as added advantage for approval of leases and linking to private land owners
  5. Acts as reference when match making domestic investors with inward investor missions for possible Joint Venture Partnerships, raw material suppliers or markets for finished products
  6.  Holder enjoys the benefits of UIA investors’ One Stop Centre by getting first hand information.
  7.  Holder gets priority aftercare services when faced with specific challenges such as tax disagreement, closure due to non compliance that needs negotiations with other parties i.e. Government Departments and Agencies etc.

SMEs

Are foreigners allowed to invest in Small and Medium Enterprises in Uganda?

Yes, foreigners may invest in and own Small and Medium Enterprises.  They however may not own Micro enterprises since the capital requirement are below the minimum threshold for foreign Investors.

What is a Small and Medium Enterprise?

They are categorized as;

i.    Micro Enterprise is an enterprise that employs up to 4 people, with annual sales turnover and/or total assets of maximum U.shs 12 million.
ii.    Small Enterprise employs from 5 to 50 people, with annual sales turnover and/or total assets of up to U.shs 360 million.
iii.    Medium Enterprise employs from 51 to 100 persons, with annual sales turnover and/or total assets of over U.shs 360 million but not more than U.shs 30 billion.

What kind of support does UIA provide SMEs in terms of?

i.    Funding?
UIA does not provide funding to SMEs or any other investments but can recommend SMEs with bankable business plans to financial institutions to access funding.
ii.    Technical Support?
UIA provides technical through cluster development programs and technical skills training

Can SMEs whose capital is less than US$ 50,000 be allocated land within the Industrial parks?

Yes, provided that the Investment capital projection in the business plan meets the threshold of US$ 50,000.

Can UIA provide shared work spaces and machinery to SMEs (i.e. business incubations services)?

There is limited space at the UIA SME Park located in Mbarara. UIA is also in the process of setting up a multi-purpose business incubation centre at Kampala Industrial Business Park (KIBP) in Namanve for SMEs.

Is there a special criterion for land allocation to SMEs?

No, all businesses applying for land allocation are evaluated based on the same criteria.

Does UIA help SMEs to draft project proposals?

No, UIA links SMEs to Business Development Service Providers who help them to write project proposals.

Which services does UIA offer to SMEs?

UIA offers  various services to SMEs  which include among others ; Enterprise development programs; Cluster development, support for regional exhibitions , SPX, B2B, National Content in Oil and Gas  advocacy ( refer to the SME flyer either on the UIA website or pick a free hard copy at the front office).
These can be availed on request or incorporated in the divisional work plan. To access UIA services you may send an email to info@ugandainvest.go.ug, with your request or walk in for a face to face to discussion with one of the officers.
You may also choose to make a specific request  addressed to the Executive Director, Uganda Investment Authority. Please note that the training are done in groups of at least 40-70

Do Small and Medium Enterprises have to register their businesses?

Business registration is highly recommended. Owners and employees of small and medium enterprises may register their businesses at district level or at national level with Uganda Business Registration services Bureau. Registration at national level gives a SMEs access to national markets in Uganda and across borders while registration at district level may restrict market access to the district of registration only.
UIA assists SMEs to register their businesses by providing platforms where registration services can be accessed through the One Stop Center at UIA offices or through mobile registration clinics during workshops or through partnership with member based Associations.

How can UIA assist SMEs to increase productivity?

UIA assists SMEs to increase their productivity through;
i.    Capacity building, for example; Technical Skills training for value addition, Entrepreneurship Training
ii.    Enterprise to Enterprise visits, and
iii.    By organizing into production clusters through which they are able to access professional advice from government agencies, Private sector and Academia/Universities and other research centers.

How can UIA assist SMEs to access market both within Uganda and EAC?

UIA organizes domestic regional exhibitions through which, SMEs are able to showcase their products at minimal cost. In some cases UIA facilitates outward missions to enable SMEs to tap into regional markets

Does UIA help SMEs improve the quality of their products?

Yes, UIA encourages SMEs to ensure that their products are tested and certified by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) before they go to any market, both domestic and foreign. In the event that products are not up to the standards set by UNBS, UIA recommends that the SMEs contact the Uganda Industrial Research Institute    (UIRI) for incubation services to improve their products.

What type of SMEs does UIA promote?

UIA promotes legal entities. A legal entity is registered and it trades in legally accepted goods and services. We also hand hold those who are not legally registered to enable them to register.

How can SMEs access business information?

SMEs can access business information through the Uganda Investment Authority website, www.ugandainvest.go.ug or make a physical visit to the UIA library or meet a UIA officer for advice.

Are there some enterprises that are restricted to Small and medium enterprises?

Uganda’s economy is fully liberalized, so there are no restrictions in sectors of Investment except for those that pose a threat to national security.

Should small and medium enterprises be subjected to requirements for business standards and taxation?

It is an obligation by all enterprises to pay tax as stipulated in the Tax Act.  Businesses are encouraged to consult URA officer at the One Stop Centre for guidance on whether the business is within the tax bracket and the type (s) tax to be paid.

Land

Does UIA help investors get Machinery and Land?

UIA is a neutral party which cannot directly recommend individual machinery suppliers. However UIA can in a generic manner point investors to possible suppliers of machinery.

On the other hand, UIA holds government that it can lease to investors. Additionally, UIA has an active Land Registry  comprising of vetted privately owned land and frequently guides investors to negotiate with the landlords.

Can I get free or subsidized land from the Government?

No. Government does not give free land to investors whether domestic or foreign. However, fully subsidized land can be leased to investors in some pre-determined critical areas of the Ugandan economy.

Can I as an investor buy/own land for self and or company?

The laws of Uganda don’t allow foreigners (self or company) to buy land outright but can lease land up to 99 years. UIA can help licensed investors to obtain leasehold tenure

Incentives

What type of investment incentives does Uganda Investment Authority offer?

Investment Incentives given in Uganda are categorised into two:

i.    General Incentives
The general incentives are grouped into (5) five areas as
a)    Import based incentives
b)    Export based incentive
c)    Investment Capital Allowances
d)    Deductable Capital Allowances
e)    Special Deductions

ii.  Sector Specific incentives

  1. Sector Specific incentives are given to investment projects in priority sectors. These vary according to the prevailing National Development Plan and other Government policies.

For more details visit the websites. Uganda Revenue Authority

As an investor am I eligible to any tax and duty incentive?

Yes. All investors (domestic and foreign) are eligible to tax duty incentives, provided they meet the requirements under the respective incentive packages.

Should small and medium enterprises be subjected to requirements for business standards and taxation?

It is an obligation by all enterprises to pay tax as stipulated in the Tax Act.  Businesses are encouraged to consult URA officer at the One Stop Centre for guidance on whether the business is within the tax bracket and the type (s) tax to be paid.