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World Bank Ranks Uganda Third Best Place to Do Business in East Africa

Traders doing business in Kikuubo downtown Kampala.

Uganda has improved its ranking by slight margin to 115th place from 113th in the 2017 World Bank Ease of Doing Business report that was released on Tuesday.

This places Uganda in 12th place within the Sub Saharan Africa region out of 48 other economies.

World Bank conducted the study on 190 countries world over with assessment on 11 areas considered critical for small and medium size enterprises. The 11 indicators include; getting credit, viagra 60mg http://comfortzonetoronto.com/wp-includes/canonical.php starting a business, buy labor market regulations, side effects registering property, getting electricity and dealings with construction permits.

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Other indicators were enforcing contracts, getting electricity, protecting minority investors and resolving insolvency.

Uganda’s gains in performance were due to 3 reforms; the online submission of tax returns, elimination of a requirement that a commissioner of oaths must sign compliance declarations and the enforcement of a one stop border post at Malaba.

The country’s areas with least reforms were protection of minority investors, getting credit and resolving insolvency.

On a regional level, Uganda emerged third behind Rwanda which ranked 56th and Kenya which ranked 92nd globally. Mauritius was ranked the best country to do business in Africa followed by Rwanda, Botwsana, South Africa and Kenya.

According to the report, Uganda’s DTF (distance to frontier) is 57.7 points, the frontier being 100 points compared to 56 and 51.8 points in 2016 and 2015 respectively.

The DTF for regional counterparts Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania are 69.81, 61.22 and 54.48 respectively.

Reaction from stakeholders

Peter Ngategyize the National Coordinator for Competitiveness and Investment Climate Strategy (CICS) while commenting on the Report findings on Wednesday said Uganda’s performance was ‘impressive’ but added; “Significant reforms are required and we need to leverage on online processes to achieve this.”

“Land administration system is one area that should be focused on. Most banks prefer land titles as collateral for loans. We don’t want people failing to access credit due to their land ownership being questioned,” he said.

While government says that the process of registering businesses has been eased through numerous initiatives notable among them the One Stop Center, Moses Kibirige who is in charge of Trade and Competitiveness at World Bank Uganda said processes should be further reduced to a day.

“Uganda’s problem isn’t funding but poor coordination between the different agencies and long processes that aren’t necessary. Obtaining a TIN number still takes 7 days, getting stamp duty from UIA is 3days. These added to other registration requirements together consume over 20 days which should be reduced to one day,” he said.

Private Sector Foundation Uganda Executive Director Gideon Badagawa wants communication between agencies and the private sector on new interventions improved.

“Our people must know what achievements have been registered. After all, while carrying out such studies, World Bank doesn’t consult URA and other agencies. It asks the private sector.”

He however cited poor planning in procurement as a major hindrance to progress.

What is being done?

Uganda Revenue Authority has rolled out several mobile platforms in a bid to ease tax payment by the informal sector. Dickson Kateshumba the Commissioner Customs said that the introduction of the Electronic Cargo Tracking, scrapping costs on certificates of origin and the Single Customs Territory have improved cross border trade.

“Next week, we shall launch the National Electronic Single Window to bring all customs services in one place.”

The Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) has also moved to digitalizing its payments and process reducing the paperwork which was previously predominant. A reservation for a company/business name can now be done within an hour compared to 2 days in 2012.

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