Starting a business

Uganda Investment Authority - Starting a business

Starting a business in Uganda just got easier through the electronic One Stop Center eBiz. This is a collaboration of seven Uganda government agencies to reduce business licensing bureaucracies. Various services such as the Investment license, business registration are now accessible online at https://www.ebiz.go.ug/

ABOUT THE PHYSCIAL ONE STOP CENTER AT UIA

In order to set-up an attractive business environment that gives investors the ease to register, set up and start operations in the shortest possible time, with the least amount of administrative and bureaucratic procedures, a physical  “One-Stop Centre” (OSC) was also established at the UIA head office.

Services from the following agencies can be accessed at the UIA One Stop Center.

UGANDA INVESTMENT AUTHORITY

Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) is a semi-autonomous government agency which drives national economic growth and development in partnership with the private sector. As an Investment Promotion Agency, UIA mainly: markets investment opportunities; promotes packaged investment projects; ensures local and foreign investors have access to information, especially about the business environment so as to make more informed business decisions; and offers business support, advisory and advocacy services.

  • Investment Licence Issuance
    After a company has been incorporated in Uganda, it is eligible for an investment licence. Provided its capital investment exceeds US$ 100,000 (Foreign firms) and US $ 50,000 (Local firms). Application for an investment licence from UIA can be done online. After all required documentation is submitted along with the filled form, the licence is issued for free in 2 days or less.

  • Documentation required for the Investment Licence 

    1. Copy of the Certificate of Incorporation
    2. Copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association
    3. A brief business plan
    4. Proof of financial ability to implement proposed project i.e. bank statement or letter showing project support from a financial institution.
    5. Proof of proposed physical location of project

  • Benefits the Investment Licence include:

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

    ii.    It assists in getting the secondary licenses.

    iii.    It assists in recommending the investor for various services ie Commercial Banks, Development Partners, Equity Funders, etc

    iv.    Assists when recommending and following up acquisition of work permits

    v.    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.

    vi.    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

    vii.    Holder enjoys the benefits of UIA investors’ One Stop Center by getting first hand information.

    viii.    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.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    1. 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.

    2. Do I need a local partner to set up an investment?
    No. It is not a requirement to have a local partner’s participation for foreign firms to carry out business in Uganda. The investment and trade environment in Uganda is liberalized where 100% foreign holding is permissible.

    3. How does one set up investment in Uganda?
    There are (3) three steps to follow

    i. Register your company with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau. This can be done at the UIA Investors’ One Stop Center.

    ii. Get your Investment License from Uganda Investment Authority. Visit our website  or  UIA office at the Investment Center, Twed Plaza, Plot 22 Lumumba Avenue Kampala.

    iii. Secure necessary secondary licenses: Certain sectors require other licenses(i.e Mining, Health Services, Air Transport, Banking etc) UIA can assist in securing these licenses within reasonable time.

    4.    Where does one obtain approvals to set up an Investment in Uganda?
    By law, all foreign investors need to obtain an investment license from Uganda Investment Authority (UIA). However according to the current investment Code domestic investors are not obliged.

  • Frequently Asked Questions Continued

    5.    Are there any fees/charges payable to obtain the Investment Licence?
    The Investment Licence in Uganda is free of charge.

    6.    How long does it take to obtain the Investment licence?
    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.

    7.    What is a business licence?
    A business license is a legal authorization to operate a business in a city/ town/ municipality or boundaries of any country.

    8.    Who needs a business licence?
    Any person/ entity willing to start a business within a given jurisdiction.

    9.    Why are business licences important?
    For compliance purposes: business licences, permits and registrations serve the purpose of advising the licencing authorities that the business is functioning and meeting safety, soundness and tax regulations for the authorities.

    10.    How long do I have to wait to get my licence?
    The time required to process a license is mentioned on the eBiz portal and it differs from one license to another.

    11.    How much should one invest to obtain the approval for the Investment Licence?
    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.

  • UIA Licencing Office: +256-414-301177

    Email: info@ugandainvest.go.ug

UGANDA REGISTRATION SERVICES BUREAU

The Uganda Registration Services Bureau is an autonomous statutory body Logo_Colour-01established by Chapter 210 Laws of Uganda in 1998. The Bureau was created to take over the functions of the Registrar General’s Office under the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

    1. Advisory services on issues of company registration
    2. Registration of both Local and Foreign Companies
    3. Registration of Business names
    4. Registration of Legal documents like contracts, agreements, powers of Attorney, affidavits and statutory declarations.
    5. Registration of work on old companies like company resolutions, annual returns, company forms, transfer of share stock etc

  • The Requirements for Registration of a company

    Foreign Company (These are companies incorporated outside Uganda and are registered in Uganda)

    1. Memorandum and Articles of Association or any other document certified by the Registrar of Companies the Country of origin
    2. certified copy of the certificate of incorporation
    3. company Forms 13,24, 25 and 26
    4. Payment of the necessary fees

    Local Company  (Private Limited Liability Company)

    1. Company Form A1- Statement of Nominal capital
    2. Company Form A2-Declaration of compliance with the requirements of the Companies Act No.1 of 2012.
    3. Memorandum and Articles of association
    4. Payment of the necessary fees

    Local Company  (Public Company)

    • In addition to the Documents mentions above,  Prospectus or Statement in Lieu of Prospectus which must be cleared by the Capital Market Authority.
    • The Articles of Association will need to specify that the company shall invite the public to subscribe for shares.

  • Forms A1, S 18, 20 and 18 are for local companies.

    Forms 13,24, 25 and 26 are for foreign companies.

  • Foreign Company Fees

    ITEM AMOUNT (U$ /UGX)
    Registration of new company constitution/instrument U$ 250 payable in ugx at URA exchange rate.
     Registration Fees for company forms and resolutions-first 3 copies U$ 55 payable in ugx at URA exchange rate.
    Registration Fees for company forms and resolutions-  every extra  after first 3 copies U$ 10 payable in ugx at URA exchange rate.
    Certification fees- first 3 copies UGX 20,000
    Certification fees-  every copy  after first 3 copies UGX 10,000

    Local Company Registration Fees

    ITEM AMOUNT(UGX)
     Registration Fees for  company  whose  share capital does not exceed UGX 5,000,000/=  50,000
    Issuance of duplicate certificate of incorporation 25,000
    Name Reservation 20,000
    Registration Fees for  company  whose  share capital exceeds  UGX 5,000,000/=  1%  of nominal share capital
    Registration fees 1% of the amount topped up
    Registration of any company  application to Registrar 20,000
    Stamp Duty -incorporation 0.5% of share capital
    Stamp Duty on memorandum & articles of association 35,000

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Do I need a lawyer to incorporate my company?

    2. Can I be a sole owner of a company?

    3. How long will it take for the company to be registered?

    4. How much fees will I pay to have my company registered?

    5. What is the difference between a local and foreign company?

  • URSB Office: +256-414-301103

    Email: info@ugandainvest.go.ug

Uganda Revenue Authority

The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) was established by the Uganda Revenue Authority Statute of 1991 ura-logoand set up in September of the same year as a central body for assessment and collection of specified revenue, to administer and enforce the laws relating to such revenue and to provide for related matters. This statute incorporated all the laws that were in force then regarding tax collection. The new organization (URA) amalgamated the three tax administration departments that were responsible for all the taxes collected by the Central Government of Uganda.

DIRECTORATE OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION CONTROL logo DCIC final

The Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control is a Public Service Institution under the Ministry of Internal Affairs and is responsible for managing migration to and from Uganda. The Directorate is also the Secretariat of the National Citizenship and Immigration Board established under Article 16 of the Constitution and a member of Justice Law and Order Sector.

  • The following Applications can be made 

    1. Work Permit
    2. Special Pass
    3. Certificate of Residence
    4. Dependant’s Pass
    5. Visitor’s Pass
    6. Citizenship
    7. Student/pupils Pass
    8. Uganda Passport

  • The Requirements for a work permit (CLASS D (BUSINESS AND TRADE)  

    NB: Applicants should be persons intending to carry on the business or trade in Uganda

    • Fill work permit form
    • Attach Covering letter from company
    • 2 passport size photos
    • Photocopies of the passport
    • Company’s bank statement
    • Uganda Investment Authority license ( where applicable )
    • Articles and memorandum of association
    • Certificate of incorporation
    • Income tax clearance

    • Trading license
    • Banking of Uganda Certificate of remittance of US $ 100,000
    • Letter of good conduct from home country / Interpol in country of origin
    • Letters (2) i) Director/Immigration ii) Executive Director UIA
    • Pay Security bond
    • List of Employees
    • $1500 Non Refundable fee
    • Project Monitoring Questionnaire

  • The Requirements for a work permit (CLASS G2 (EMPLOYEES)
    NOTE: Applicants under this category can only enter Uganda after grant and payment for their work permits

    • Fill EP form
    • 2 passport size photos
    • Photocopies of passport
    • Academic qualifications
    • Letter of good conduct
    • Appointment letter
    • Attach Covering letter from company
    • Proof of failure to employ a Ugandan
    • Training opportunities for Ugandans
    • Investment letter
    • Income tax clearance
    • Articles and memorandum
    • Trading license
    • Security bond
    • Company’s Bank statement
    • Certificate of incorporation

  • Work Permit Costs 

    Class D ( Business and Trade ) – Directors 

    1 year  – USD$ 2500

    2 years – USD$ 5000

    3 years – USD$ 7500

    Classes (B – Agriculture, C – Mining,  E- Manufacturing) – Directors 

    1 year  – USD$ 2500

    2 years – USD$ 5000

    3 years – USD$ 7500

    Class G2 ( Employees) 

    1 year  – USD$ 2500

    2 years – USD$ 4000

    3 years – USD$ 5000

  • DCIC Office: +256-414-301104

    Email: info@ugandainvest.go.ug

UGANDA NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS

The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) is a statutory body under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives established by the UNBS Act Cap 327 and became operational in 1989. It is governed by the National Standards Council and headed by the Executive Director who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of UNBS.UNBS

The Mandate of UNBS is:

  • Formulation and promotion of the use of standards;
  • Enforcing standards in protection of public health and safety and the environment against dangerous and sub-standard products;
  • Ensuring fairness in trade and precision in industry through reliable measurement systems; and
  • Strengthening the economy of Uganda by assuring the quality of locally manufactured products to enhance the competitiveness of exports in regional and international markets.
    • Formulation, review and modification of Uganda standards
    • Product and system Certification
    • Promotion and enforcement of standards
    • Imports Inspection
    • Consumer protection
    • Metrology services (Weights and Measures)
    • Product testing for conformity to standards
    • Calibration of precision instruments
    • Training and consultancy
    • Support to MSMEs
    • Information resource centre

    • Copy of certificate of incorporation
    • Copy of brand name/trade mark registration
    • Labels of products (with passing prepackage reports)
    • 3 sets of recent product test reports from UNBS laboratories
    • Compliance of product labels to the requirements in the relevant product standards as well as conformance to the Weights & Measures Act- Prepackage control Assessment reports
    • Calibration of measuring & testing Equipment, e.g PH meters, TDS meters, Scales, Pressure & Temperature gauges
    • Medical examination for staff for all food industries
    • Quality monitoring records for Raw materials, In-process and Final product inspection internal reports
    • Good Storage practice and Good Equipment cleaning schedules and records for such activities kept
    • Basic Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)
      • Clean toilets with adequate aids; e.g. availability of water
      • Personal hygiene including Personal Protective wear
      • Hand washing facilities with flowing potable water, non-perfumed liquid soap, sanitizer(for food factories)
      • Safety type lights
      • Changing rooms for staff
      • First aid facilities
      • Fire assembly point
      • Staff Canteen

  • Forms for Quality Mark

  • To manufacturers;

    • The product is presented with a better image in both national and international markets.
    • Favored for bulky purchase from Government, non-government organizations and International bodies since these institutions are relying more on UNBS Certified products for their purchases.
    • The Certification Scheme includes technical audit of product quality and production process by UNBS officers.
    • Winning consumer confidence and good will.
    • Through mutual recognition schemes, countries recognize each other’s products that are certified, thus easing entry into regional and foreign markets.

      To consumers;

    • The quality mark helps consumers and purchasers to identify quality products on the market.
    • Helps in making wise and quick decision in purchasing.
    • Guarantee of good quality and conformity to approval standards
    • The Certification Scheme includes technical audit of product quality and process quality control procedures.
    • Assurance of free replacement in case of default on manufacturer’s part.

  • The permit fees payable at the time of application are as follows;

    • Local firms; UGX 800,000 per permit
    • Foreign firms; USD 2000 per permit

    In addition to the above permit fee, both local and foreign firms are required to pay audit fees as follows;

    • Within Kampala; UGX 250,000
    • Upcountry ;UGX 1.500.000-2.000.000

  • What is a standard?

    A standard is a document that pins down the characteristics of a product or a service. These characteristics may cover design, weight, size, performance, environmental requirements, interoperability, materials, production process or service delivery or even the protocols that allow computers or mobile phones to connect to each other. The standard may include or deal exclusively with terminology, symbols, packaging, marking or labelling requirements as they apply to a product, process or production method.

     What Standards has UNBS developed?

    UNBS has developed standards in the following areas;

    Basic and General Standards, Food and Agriculture, Building and civil engineering, Mechanical engineering and metallurgy, Chemicals and environment, Electrotechnology, Textiles, leather, paper and related products, Transport and communication, Metrology,           Management and services, Consumer Products, Furniture,     Energy management, Medical devices, Halal integrity, Petroleum, Applied Statistics, Information and Communication Technologies, etc.

    These standards are either mandatory or voluntary

    Compulsory or Mandatory Standards (Technical Regulations)

    Compliance to these is mandatory.

    Voluntary Standards (Standards)

    Compliance to these is not mandatory.

  • What is Certification?

    Certification is the provision by an independent body of written assurance (a certificate) that the product, service or system in question meets specific requirements. Certification is also known as third party conformity assessment.In simple terms, certification refers to the confirmation of certain characteristic of a product or service meets specific requirements. It provides assurance of conformity to specifications.Certification can be a useful tool to add credibility, by demonstrating that your product or service meets the expectations of your customers.

    What certification services are offered by UNBS?

    Product Certification

      • Standardization Mark

      Is mandatory, granted to a manufacturer(s) who has shown compliance to the relevant compulsory Uganda standards and can apply the mark on the registered products. Compulsory Standards are those Standards whose minimum requirements must be meet or conformed to by the manufacturers, sellers, distributors, etc.

      • Quality Mark

      It is a voluntary mark of quality granted to manufacturers that have consistently met the relevant product standards. It’s based on excellent performance of the products and is superior to all quality marks.

      System Certification

      • ISO 9001 Quality Management System
      • ISO 14001 on Environmental Management
      • ISO 22000 and HACCP on Food Safety Management
      • OHSAS 18001 on Occupational Health and Safety Management

  • What is the process of certification?

    • The Manufacturer obtains application forms from UNBS. Application forms can also be obtained from the UNBS Website. www.unbs.go.ug.  The forms are free.
    • The forms are filled and returned to UNBS. The Quality Assurance officers at UNBS can guide you in filling the forms where necessary.
    • The UNBS officers will fix with you a date to visit and audit your factory.
    • UNBS quality auditors will visit the factory, at the company’s expense, for auditing based on standards applicable to your product. The quality audit is conducted in a free atmosphere and confidentiality is observed.
    • During auditing, samples of the products will be taken for testing in UNBS laboratories.
    • The company shall demonstrate that products meets the requirements of the standard at least three time at different intervals.
    • If UNBS is satisfied that the company has fulfilled the requirements of the standards, and if the products pass the laboratory test, the company will be informed of their success.
    • On paying the permit fees (UGX 800000/= for local products and USD2000 for Foreign firms; per permit, the company will be granted the permit to use the Quality Mark.
    • The permit is granted per product per brand per year
    • The company uses the Quality Mark to market their product and assure consumers that the products meet standards. The quality mark is printed on the product or the product package.
    • The process is repeated after one year for renewal to ensure that quality requirements are continuously fulfilled.
    • During the year surveillance audits are carried out without notice to ensure continuous compliance.

  • URSB Office: +256-414-301105

    Email: info@ugandainvest.go.ug