Ten ministers and parliamentarians led by Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda are set to engage the Ugandan Diaspora in the United Kingdom on among other issues, citizenship and investments.
According to a release, Rugunda will be the guest of honour at the September 12 Convention where the UK Diaspora wants government to primarily address the issue of delayed implementation of dual citizenship, barriers to investments and the ban against Ugandan holders of foreign passports owning mailo/freehold land in Uganda.
According to the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control (Amendment) Act, ‘all Ugandans who lost their citizenship by way of obtaining citizenship of another country country can now reacquire their former Ugandan citizenship…’
It adds: ‘A citizen of Uganda of eighteen years and above who voluntarily acquires citizenship of another country may retain the citizenship of Uganda subject to the Constitution (of Uganda), the Citizenship and Immigration Act, and any law enacted by Parliament.’
Meanwhile, the Ugandan Diaspora says it remits around $800million every year, making them strategic partners in national development.
Among the sectors the Ugandan Diaspora has earmarked for investment are infrastructure development, power & energy, health-care, agri-business, real estate and financial markets.
The delegation expected to grace the 5th Uganda Convention in London includes Premier Rugunda, Energy and Minerals minister Irene Muloni, Christine Aporu, Minister for Teso Affairs, Ernest Kiiza, Minister of State for Bunyoro Affairs, Cecilia Ogwal, the Oppositional Chief Whip and Wafula Oguttu, Leader of Opposition in Parliament. Others are Barbara Nekesa Oundo, Minister of state for Karamoja Affairs, Sarah Kataike Ndoboli, Minister of State for Luwero Triangle, Mathias Kasamba, Chairperson- Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Rebecca Amuge Otengo, Minister of State Northern Uganda Rehabilitation.
The chief guest at the Convention will be the Nnabagereka Sylvia Nagginda and other notable attendees include Lord Verjee, Lord Popat, Lord Sheikh, Baroness Sandy Verma, Nuradin Osman (AGCO)and Ian Harrison (UKTI).
‘This roundtable discussion will be a rare opportunity to put some of the challenges that stand in the way of full Diaspora engagement to the policy makers, who it is hoped will take the views expressed back to government for discussion and where possible implementation,’ the release states in part.
The group further says that the requirement for one to have US$100.000 before accessing incentives for investors has denied the country a chance of thousands of small business start-ups by members of the Diaspora.
‘This is an amount that is beyond most Diaspora Ugandans. Furthermore it is a policy that fails to take into account that small business can be and have been started for as little as a few thousands, even a few hundreds,’ the release states.