Bureaucracy and quality still chock investment and exports - Indian experts

May 10, 2016

They advised the Government to support value addition which will boost the quality of exports from Uganda, and also attract global markets and a good premium.

Even though the world investment report places Uganda second in the region in attracting foreign direct investment, a group of Indian investors have expressed frustration over delays in clearing business deals due to by government bureaucracy.

They advised the Government to support value addition which will boost the quality of exports from Uganda, and also attract global markets and a good premium.

"It takes on average 14 days to have a major consignment approved in Uganda due to delays by government officials and the lengthy approval process, which frustrates investors," said the Chief, Trade Facilitation and Policy for Business at the International Trade Centre, Rajesh Aggarwal.

He said the delays affect the country's competitiveness on the world market and asked government to effect sustainable, inclusive and far-reaching solutions.

This was during the Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa (SITA Fifth Partnership Platform Meeting at the Speak country Resort in Munyonyo recently.

SITA is a trade support organization established to boost trade and investment between Indian and East African businesses through growth in key sectors such as ICT.

India is so far the second biggest foreign investor in Uganda, after China, according to the 2015 records from the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA).

He stressed the importance of high-level government commitment in addressing non-tariff measures and implementing the necessary reforms for improving the business and investment climate

"Every day spent in clearance delays affects trade by 1% according to the World Bank and there is no investor that wants to lose. Government should therefore commit more efforts to addressing NTBs to attract investment," he said.

However, trade minister Amelia Kyambadde reiterated government commitment to removing all NTBs, including bureaucracy, to improve the investment climate.

"The Uganda Investment Authority and the National Infrastructure Technology Authority recently launched a one stop portal to remove duplication of work, reduce bureaucracy and enable investors to save time and money," she said.

She also said the portal is an effective solution that will facilitate convenient and efficient services that reduce the number of procedures, time and cost of obtaining the relevant licenses and permits by accessing them at a single point.

She said foreign investments has continued to grow at approximately 20% and is expected to increase this year, fanned by investments in the oil sector.

Statistics from the Uganda Investment Authority indicate that approximately 500 new investors are registered every year, creating approximately ten thousand actual jobs and more than sh200b in revenue. A cotton sourcing consultant with Arvind Mills India, Ranjit Parekh, said the county's exporters need to improve the quality of exported products to meet global standards.

"I am sure you will soon adopt the quality improvement measures required to succeed in India, and the markets beyond," he said.

ITC: (L-R) Ms Dorothy Tembo, Deputy Executive Director, International Trade Centre, Hon. Amelia Kyambadde, Minister of Trade, Industry & Cooperatives and MrGovindVenuprasad, Coordinator, SITA, International Trade Centre address during the 5th SITA Partnership Platform Meeting at Munyonyo.

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