EPRC Research Fellow, Brian Sserunjogi, presents the BCI findings to participants during a dissemination workshop held in Mbale. Photo by Mouris Opolot

The second Business Climate Index (BCI) research dissemination held in the Northern and Eastern region for the financial year 2017/18 saw business owners and local leader’s list difficulties affecting their smooth operation and growth.

During the Northern region workshop held in Lira, Charles Onencan, a member-Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Gulu District decried the unfair tax regime, which he says, favours foreigners. “Tax waivers to foreigners pits local firms who are left with no choice than opt out of business,” he said.

Alex Oremo Alot, the Lira District Chairperson called for harmonization of interest rates to ease borrowing among local traders and producers. “You cannot grow when you are getting loans at very high interest rates; once the collateral is attached to the loan by lenders, business owners lose morale,” he noted.

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He urged parliament to intervene in bringing the interest rate down to enable a favourable business environment.

Oremo said that Lira District was striving hard to become a very powerful industrial city for the northern region and asked that local governments be given 40 percent of the national resource envelope to achieve tangible outcomes in key areas such as service delivery.

He warned local entrepreneurs against taking business matters lightly, stating carelessness in the running of businesses has led to the collapse of many ventures as the proprietors fail to overcome dangerous conditions.

The business community reported that the process of certification of products by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) is riddled with bureaucracy.

They further noted that UNBS lacked capacity in terms of finance and human resource to enforce standards. They noted that UNBS major capacity in their localities was confiscation of weighing scales and did not sensitize the business community on what to look for before buying a correct weighing scale.
The businessmen noted that maize exports to Kenya were fetching very little due to low quality.

“Uganda’s maize to Kenya is only suitable for animal consumption,” they argued.

On inadequacy of information regarding business registration, Susan Auma, the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) official for Lira district asked business people to always look out for information to avoid being misled.

“Look for those institutions and find out what they do, when you have the information you are very rich, you will not be cheated by brokers. Registration of business is Shs24, 000 and one time we had a case where one person was charged over Shs200, 000 by suspecting agents,” She said.

The disseminations were spearheaded by EPRC Research Fellows, Paul Corti Lakuma and Brian Sserunjogi. It provided a platform for closer and meaningful engagement of the private sector and research with a view of fostering research uptake by the business community and policy makers.



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