Amb. Moto’s statement at Uganda-UK investment and trade convention
Kampala – 13, September 2021: At a virtual convention attended by over 351 people, including the Prime Minister of Uganda, Rt. Hon. Robina Nabbanja, HE Julius Peter Moto, High Commissioner of Uganda in London spoke about Covid-19, trade and more.
According to Moto, it is mainly through trade and investment that “nations rise to wealth and prosperity.” “We urge all of you to participate in investment activities as we implement the third National Development Plan (NDPIII) towards the attainment of Uganda Vision 2040,” he added.
UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Uganda, DRC and Rwanda, Lord Dolar Popat, Chairman of Uganda Convention UK, Willy Mutenza were among key participants.
Additionally, in his opening remarks, Ambassador Moto had this to say:
On this day, 11 September 2001, a sad event that has been shortened to 9/11, a series of well-coordinated terrorist militant Islamist al-Qaeda attacked the United States of America on the morning of Tuesday. Morning times in New York are evening times in Uganda. I had returned from work and just switched on my TV and tuned in CNN. I watched in disbelief the jumbo planes ramming into and destroying the World Trade Centre situation in New York. Since then, the world was never the same. The war on terror had continued to date.
Similarly, on the eve of the year 2019, the world was attacked again by an unprecedented corona virus disease, also known as COVID-19, that has affected the world economy. Millions of lives have been lost consequently. COVID-19 has completely impacted all aspects of our lives. How we live and interact with each other, how we work and communicate, how we move around and travel. Every aspect of our lives has been affected. Decisions made now and in the coming months will be some of the most important ones made in generations. They will affect people all around the world for years to come.
Just like terror attacks, COVID-19 will continue to affect our plans, ambitions, and projections. Nevertheless, a new norm has been set. We shall adjust to the challenges. New technologies have made it possible for businesspeople to connect.
I thank Mr. Willy Mutenza for using it yet again, like he did last year 2020 to organize and reach out to Ugandans in diaspora and investors who have passions to invest in Uganda. Despite the challenges occasioned by COVID-19, Government of Uganda has continued to plan for attracting high quality Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into the country in virtually all sectors.
According to the latest United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reports, Uganda is one of the countries attracting the most FDIS in East Africa, unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly slowed down its performance. According to UNCTAD’s 2020 World Investment Report, FDI in Uganda decreased by 35% from US$1.3 billion in 2019 to US$823 million in 2018. Engineering works on the Lake Albert oil project slowed down due to COVID-19.
The approval of the US$3.5bn East African Crude Oil Pipeline project, which will lead to the construction of a 1,400km pipeline from Uganda to the seaport of Tanga in the United Republic of Tanzania, bodes well for investment in both countries. In 2020, the stock of FDI grew to US$14.5 billion.
FDI rose from US$1055 million in 2018 to US$1266 million in 2019, representing 20% increase, as per UNCTAD report 2020. FDI stock rose from US$ 13,051 million to US$14,317 million representing 9.7% during the same period, with the resultant rise in Greenfield investments that rose in number from 17 to 29 in the same period and associate value of Greenfield investment also rose from US$366 million in 2018 to US$960 million in 2019 representing a whopping 162%.
These are strong confidence statistics underpinned by political stability and steady economic growth under the able leadership of President Museveni, who was sworn into office in May 2021, for another 5 years’ mandate. I expect more progress shall be recorded in all sectors.
Since 1986, the Government of Uganda made tremendous progress in regulatory development in financial services (especially in insurance and capital market) and in privatization in banking for attracting FDI while maintaining a tight monetary policy that keptinflation rates in single digits <8% for the last 35 years as compared to over 100% at 4 decades ago.
Uganda iswell-endowed in natural resources and its geographic location in the heart of sub-Saharan Africa, gives it an ideal strategic base to become a regional hub of tourism, trade, and investment.
Despite the COVID-19 challenges, and other inherent issues like poverty, poor infrastructures, inequitable distribution of utilities, industrial power and financial services, a lot of FDIs have been attracted to Uganda.
Government has continued to improve on the ease of doing business in Uganda. Industrial incentives for industrial investments, including: a 75% import duty reduction on factory equipment, depreciating start-up costs over four years, and a 100% tax deduction on research and training costs as well as mineral exploration costs, including tax free imports of capital good for holders of investment licenses has contributed to the rise in the FDIs as reported by UNCTAD.
Exports of processed products from Uganda are encouraged and there are no taxes paid.Investors engaged in export-oriented production can also enjoy a 10-year tax holiday. We encourage Ugandans to set up processing facilities country wide to provide decent jobs for our people, expand the tax base, and contribute to national development.
Ladies and gentlemen, I conclude by encouraging you to invest in Uganda. It is mainly through trade and investment that nations raise to wealth and prosperity. We urge all of you to participate in investment activities as we implement the third National Development Plan (NDPIII) towards the attainment of Uganda Vision 2040.
You shall hear more from the various panels on this convention.