Uganda’s Minister for Finance Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija has urged the private sector to take advantage of the conducive environment that the government has created to enlarge their investments through investing in Free zones that have been established.
“Government has put in place a number of strategies aimed at increasing export growth and diversity and to attract investors through the provision of both tax and non-tax incentives.
“I urge you to take advantage of these to expand your businesses, create more jobs and ultimately contribute significantly to the growth of the economy”, said Kasaija during a Breakfast meeting organised by the Uganda Free Zones Authority to meet with members of the private sector at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala.
He said by investing in the Free Zones where they can manufacture goods and services, it will help them in diversifying their exports thus increasing their revenues resulting from the increment of the volume of goods and services exported.
The Breakfast meeting was organised to enlighten potential developers and operators about the Free Zones concept and point out the business opportunities therein.
Currently, the Authority is positioning itself to attract both Domestic Direct Investment (DDI) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the Free Zones. In attendance were the business communities in Uganda from Turkey, Ireland, Tanzania, Kenya, China and others.
In his presentation, the Executive Director of UFZA, Richard Jabo, highlighted the key projects that the Authority is undertaking.
These include the development of a public Free Port Zone at Entebbe International Airport and Free Zones Logistics Hub in Jinja in partnership with TradeMark East Africa.
He said the Authority has acquired lands where investors can invest their resources especially in the value addition chains in various sector in the economy such as Agriculture Information and Communication Technology alongside Manufacturing.
“The Authority has 5 acres at Entebbe International Airport and 20 acres in Jinja Industrial Park. The feasibility studies of these key projects are in the final stages there lies opportunities that the private sector can exploit,” said Jabo.
Speaking at the same event the Turkish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Fikret Kerem ALP who led the Turkish Business Community Delegation at the Meeting promised Uganda that more Turkish Business Communities are willing to invest in Uganda provided the Environment is conducive.
The Free Zones scheme provides incentives for holders of Free Zones Developer, Operator or Manager Licenses to aid export-oriented manufacturing and trade.
The incentives include, exemption from taxes and duties on all export processing imported raw materials and intermediate goods, machinery and equipment, spare parts, for exclusive use in the development and production of output in the Free Zone, the developers are also exempted from tax on plant and machinery used in the Free Zones for 5 years among other Incentives such as exemption from all taxes, levies and rates on exports from the Free Zones, among other incentives.
UFZA is a Government Agency mandated to establish, develop, manage, market, maintain, supervise and control Free Zones in Uganda under the Free Zones Act, 2014.
Free Zones are customs-controlled areas where goods introduced into the designated area are generally regarded so far as import duties are concerned as being outside the Customs territory. The Free Zones are schemes set up by the Government to boost export-oriented investment.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO