Finance Minister Tips Investors

Uganda’s major exports-coffee and fish have continued to attract foreign exchange earnings despite reports of subdued demand from foreign countries, according to Fred Omach, the minister of state for finance.

The minister made the remarks while opening the 2014 Uganda Investment Summit that ended last week on Apr. 4 in Kampala.

According to Henry Ngabirano, the managing director of Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), in the past two years, Uganda has improved in terms of coffee exports.

He says 2.7million bags valued at US$ 393 million were exported in 2012 compared to 3.58 million bags exported in 2013, valued at around US$433 million.

The 2013 volume is the second biggest in 17 years (since 1995 when we did 4.2 million bags).

Official data on Uganda’s fish exports indicates that Uganda exported 16,697 tonnes of fish in 2010, fetching about $86,016 (about Shs221 million). However, between 2011 and 2012, the fish volumes exported increased while the revenue declined. The country then exported 16,478 tonnes in 2011, fetching $89,093 (about Shs229 million) that rose in 2012 to 18,255 tonnes of fish but fetched $88,293 (about Shs227 million).

Other sectors of the economy like manufacturing, services among others remain attractive to investors eying Uganda.

The two day conference under the theme ‘Investing in Uganda’s Diverse Economy’ was convened by the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) under the patronage of Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and organized by CWI Summits.

Omach said that Uganda’s economy is favored by good climate, arable soils and diverse flora and fauna.

“This combined with improved business environment as well as political and economic stability enable any investor, local or foreign to invest and thrive in this country,” he said, adding that the government will continue to support initiatives that allow establishment of networks between domestic and foreign investors through a couple of policy, regulatory and institutional reforms.

He said that the laws relating to counterfeit goods, strengthening property rights as well as the insolvency Act and free zones Act have been enacted and are now at implementation stage.

Omach added that the Investment Code Amendment Bill is in cabinet and will soon be forwarded to parliament for debate.

Omach promised that the Public Private Partnership (PPP) bill currently awaiting a second reading in parliament should be passed into law before the end of May 2014.

If passed and assented to by the president, the PPP law would make the grossly lacking infrastructure across the country an attractive investment hotspot through structured modes where investors can partner with government.

Steven Asiimwe, the Chief Executive Officer Uganda Tourism Board also tasked the investors to invest in the numerous tourist attractions that abound throughout the country.

He particularly noted that there was an ever increasing demand for accommodation facilities in most of the parks as well as transport in the form of hot air balloons and helicopters.

“We have diverse investment opportunities that are unmatched globally just waiting to be unveiled. Investors are welcome to partner with us in this regard.”

According to the World Bank, tourists visiting Uganda are generating US$1billion (about sh2.7 trillion) in revenue annually, a figure that is expected to rise with time.

Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, the Governor Bank of Uganda in his Key note speech at the summit re-assured investors of a stable macroeconomic environment backed by predictable information flow to enable them decide on where and when to invest in Uganda.

Christopher Higgins, the Chief Executive Officer for CWI Summits said that the summit was a befitting platform to enable Uganda tell her own story and aertise the vast opportunities. The summit will be organized annually.

Source : The Independent

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