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Col Nakalema addressing the gathering

Col. Nakalema meets Policymakers to Enhance Local Investments

by Max Pat
posted onOctober 24, 2023
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The State House Investors Protection Unit Head, Col. Edith Nakalema has urged policymakers and other economy stakeholders to support each other in promoting investments in Uganda.

“We should keep on engaging ourselves to deal with challenges and get solutions to the resistance we face to ensure that we all move well,” she said. Col. Nakalema made the remarks on Monday during a stakeholders' meeting held at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kampala. The meeting aimed at coordinating economy stakeholders to create a secure investment landscape, was attended by policymakers from government ministries and agencies, bank executives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) leaders.

The State House Investors Protection Unit was established by President Yoweri Museveni this year to collaboratively promote and protect a thriving investment climate in Uganda.

Col. Nakalema underscored the vital role of MSMEs in promoting growth of the country's economy, saying that they should be accorded all the support they need to ensure that they thrive.

“More work is needed to support the indigenous investors,” Col. Nakalema noted. She further highlighted the key issues that policymakers should address while supporting MSMEs such as costs and terms in accessing business loans, alleged high tax charges and cost of standardising local products for a global market.

The National Planning Authority (NPA) Executive Director, Dr. Joseph Muvawala advised that Uganda should deal with the macro issues of the economy at enterprise and household levels if the country is to achieve the double-digit growth of the economy.

“We have done well in dealing with the micro stability of this country. We must now deal with the macro issues that are affecting our economy,” Dr. Muvawala said. “No economy can sustain its growth well if the locals are not taking part in that economy,” he added.

The Director of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Mr. Moses Kaggwa urged MSME owners to ensure that they formalise their businesses to enable them do business with the government and big firms.

“Most of them are informal, they are stuck there; in that informality yet they contribute a lot to the economy,” Mr. Kaggwa said. Kaggwa also listed some of the interventions the government has set up to support MSMEs such as Emyooga, Parish Development Model, Agricultural Credit Facility, among others. “Government has so far injected Shs259bn in Emyooga and Shs1 trillion in Parish Development Model,” he said.

The Executive Director of Supervision- Bank of Uganda, Dr. Tumubweine Twinemanzi explained that many stakeholders tend to focus on finances as the major problem MSMEs face, yet the core challenge starts from record keeping and governance. On the other hand, the Commissioner General of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Mr. John Musinguzi said no form of taxation should affect businesses negatively or lead to the closure of an enterprise.

“A lot has been said that taxes are high but countries with high tax rates are thriving more. If we pay taxes to the government, and you pay tithe to God, then you keep money for your business to thrive, no business will close if you do that,” he said.

The Executive Director of Uganda Bankers Association (UBA), Mr. Wilbrod Humphreys Owor said MSMEs are very critical in the development of a country and the government should ensure that they thrive by putting up incentives that support them. Mr. Owor also urged MSME leaders to be cautious while accessing bank loans.

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