Uganda – Singapore Business ForumBy Uganda Investment Authority
Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) together with the Singapore Business Federation organized a Uganda – Singapore Business Forum at the Serena Kampala Hotel on Monday 25th April 2016.
The twenty strong delegation of private business people, government officials, as well officials from the Singapore Business Federation and International Enterprise Singapore, was led by Hon Dr. Koh Poh Koon, Minister of State for Trade and Industry in Singapore.
Hon Dr. Eng. Ajedra Gabriel Aridru, Minister of State for Investments, presided over the opening of the Forum. In his welcome remarks, Hon Ajedra recognized Singapore as an economic powerhouse with a GDP of 402 billion (about 10 times that of Uganda’s GDP!). He expressed his appreciation to the visiting Minister and his delegation for choosing to look to Uganda as an alternative investment location to Singapore’s traditional business partners in Asia, Europe and the USA.
He informed the business delegation that by 2020, Uganda aims to attain the middle income status through wealth creation and employment which can only be achieved through investment. He added that incentives have been directly extended to investors to encourage more investment into the country.
“Government supports all your endeavors to come and invest here. We have discovered 6.5 million barrels of oil, iron ore that needs to be refined and smelted, marble, and there is a lot of value addition one can do in agricultural products. The opportunities in the tourism sector are many.” he said.
Hon. Dr. Koon was impressed about how richly endowed Uganda was. He emphasized that Singapore was committed to strengthening business ties with Uganda and he hoped that the business match making meetings would be a good beginning to realize more viable ties. He acknowledged Uganda’s land linked strategic position, which would provide Singapore businesses with an extended regional market.
The companies from Singapore, who had one on one meetings with some Ugandan businesses, comprised various sectors, which included logistics, urban and infrastructure planning, organic waste management, oil and gas services, fuel making, sea food & fisheries trade, cosmetics and apparels trade, animal protein for feeds, and import & export of spices. Viable business leads were made, however, some Ugandan companies said a lot of work had to be done to enable Ugandans to produce the quantities needed by the importers, for instance the requirement to supply 400 tonnes of rosemary spices per week was a tall order for some, however, the Ugandan companies are committed to forming associations, cooperatives and groups to be able to achieve the required quantities.
Eng. Dr. Frank Sebbowa, Executive Director UIA, urged the potential investors to invest in the value addition of Uganda’s agricultural and mineral resources. He highlighted to the delegation a number of viable investment opportunities and said UIA was committed to supporting their investments. Representatives from the other entities within the One Stop Centre for investors also made presentations to the Singapore business people about the procedures and the regulations governing their services. These included Uganda Revenue Authority and Uganda Registration Services Bureau. The delegation had also requested for a presentation on the legal framework governing investment. This was expounded on by UIA’s Senior Legal Counsel, Ms Samalie Mukyala.
The delegation departs for Tanzania on Wednesday 27th April 2016, where they will explore more business opportunities till 30th April 2016.