State Minister for Privatisation and investment, Evelyn Anite has warned the new Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) board against licencing quark investor as well as engaging in corruption as they deal with potential investors and promote investments in the country.
Anite said while inaugurating UIA’s new board at its headquarters in Kampala. She said the country has in in the past suffered with people licenced as investors only to turn out as a burden.
“The biggest problem we have had in the past is quack investors. We don’t want white elephant investments anymore. You should not licence people who come as investors but the next day they are on streets selling pancakes or are mortgaging our land,” the minister said.
She said that the country has not got value out of a number of investors cleared by Uganda Investment Authority but end up doing a disservice to Ugandans.
The minister said the board had been resized from 13 to 7 members to ensure they do a quality job, saying that government has high hopes in the new board to deliver on its mandate and targets.
She told the new board members that as part of their targets, they are expected to lead to a creation of one million jobs per year in a bid to help fight the rampant unemployment in the country.
“You are being looked at to attract foreign direct investments that are of high value. We want to see investments that will see one million jobs created annually,” she said.
She said 2016 data shows over 8000 jobs are created annually in Uganda though this has not had a significant impact on the economy.
She however noted the statistics were compiled in 2016 and there is need for updated statistics.
The minister urged the new board to increase the number of industrial parks grows from the current 11 to 25, spread across all parts of the country.
Current industrial parks are established in Namanve Mbale, Bikwe, Bweyogerere, Kapeeka and Mbalala among other areas.
“Some of these (11) are historical and not yet well built but according to the contract, we want five industrial parks every year. We want industrial parks with roads fully worked upon, water and electricity all in abundance, “she said.
The new UIA board is chaired by Emely Kugonza with members like; Fred Opolot, Morrison Rwakakamba, Joshua Mutambi, Godfrey Byamukama Kerere, Ombombasa Naima and Getrude Kutesa Lutaaya.
The previous board was dissolved after President Yoweri Museveni signed the law on February 20. The new UIA board members were cleared by Cabinet last month following weeks of consultations and background checks.
The Investment Code Act 2019 seeks to cut red tape, speed up job creation and investment promotion in the country. The new law provides a mechanism of dealing with local and foreign investments in Uganda and promises favourable conditions for investment and other related matters.
According to his 2016 job creation plan, Museveni wants to create at least 1,000,000 jobs before the end of his tenure in 2021.
UIA is a semi-autonomous government agency which drives national economic growth and development in partnership with the private sector.
UIA markets investment opportunities; promotes packaged investment projects; ensures local and foreign investors have access to information, especially about the business environment so as to make more informed business decisions; and offers business support, advisory and advocacy services.