The Uganda Investment Code works for you
The Investment Code, 1991 is the current statute governing investment in Uganda. Earlier statutes relating to foreign investments, The Foreigner’s lnvestment Decree 1977 and the Foreign lnvestment (Protection) Act 1964 were repealed. However, privileges and property rights enjoyed under previous legislation by holders of licenses continue and may be reviewed under the code.
The Uganda lnvestment Authority (UIA) began operations in mid 1991 under provisions of this code.
Who is an Investor?
An lnvestor is a person registered in Uganda as a sole proprietor or group of persons registered as partners, a company incorporated in Uganda, a foreign incorporated company registered in Uganda or any other body approved by the Authority for purposes of investment.
What is investment?
Investment means creation of new business assets, either to start a new business enterprise or to restructure or expand an existing enterprise.
A foreign investor is a person who is not a citizen of Uganda or a foreign body holding at least 50% of the share holdings of any business entity registered in Uganda.
A local investor is a person who is a citizen of Uganda or a local body holding more than 50% of the share holding of any business entity registered in Uganda.
Facilities under the Code
Facilities under the Code are interpreted to mean benefits accorded to holders of investment licenses.
Incentives mean tax holiday and other things, accorded to holders of Certificates of Incentives.
Qualifying assets are new investment in business assets which qualify the investor for facilities and incentives. They are interpreted to mean lan, buildings, plant and equipment, machinery, office and laboratory equipment, professional equipment, data processing and communications equipment, transport vehicles and storage facilities essential and integral to the production process, and cash equity in the case of financial institutions working capital can also qualify.
First arrival privileges refer to tax free importation of a personal car and personal effects.
Uganda, currently a liberalized economy, entrusts to you the decision of what to produce, sell or distribute within and outside the country. No matter whether you are foreigner or local. For a foreign investor, UIA is your route to doing business in Uganda. For a Ugandan, you can carry on any business without our license if you so wish.
Be there first!
There are obvious reasons why rewards await you in Uganda: It is a fast growing economy, liberalized, politically and economically stable, with cheap labor, abundant energy resources, vast raw materials, and strategically located in the PTA (COMESA) market .
We help you to initiate start-up of new businesses and to facilitate expansion of existing ones.
Uganda offers you tax free importation of plant, machinery, equipment and specialized project vehicles.
If you are a foreign investor, an expatriate staff, or a returning Ugandan, we have first arrival privileges for you.
Your common incentives cover tax holidays on corporation tax, tax on dividends, and withholding tax of up to six years. If you are engaged in an export oriented activity, we offer draw-back facilities of duty and sales tax on imported inputs.
We are a one-stop-centre for investors. We identify investment opportu nities; offer advisory services, secure your secondary operating licenses/work permits, tax exemptions; locate premium land, facilitate externalization of funds, and technology transfers; and advise on investment protection under the Code and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)
Your Business Proposal
A simple and precise form (UIA FORM 1) is available at the Secretariat to guide you in preparing your business plan.
Fill in the application form in order to register for facilities under the Code which will leverage your business. It involves a look-ahead, at least through three years, of your esteemed start-up investments. You will be asked for the following particulars about the nature of your business and the type of facilities and incentives you may need, so as to ensure prompt processing of your application and follow-on assistance in getting your project off to a fast start.
Your business registration documents should be in place:
- a certificate of registration for a sole proprietor and partnership
- Memorandum & Articles of Association and certificate of incorporation for limited liability companies, and a certificate of registration and cooperative by-laws for cooperative societies.
Projected investment cost and timing
A clear implementation program, including a schedule of capital items to be purchased, and working capital requirements.
Sources of funding
To run your business with less uncertainty about its continuity, a good combination of equity and loans is recommended. These are the funds which relate to determining tax holidays and expatriation of funds.
The survival of your industry depends on how it can sustain itself in the market without harmful effects, direct or indirect, to the people who buy your goods.
Please indicate the proposed treatment methods in case of harmful effluent and hazardous wastes.
It will be helpful to inform the UIA about the promoters’ background by way of brochures, professional certificates and other documents.
Timing Your Benefits
Once you have your investment license and have secured funding, ensure that all documents referred to in your business Proposal are forwarded to the UIA.
For tax exemptions on imported plant, machinery, specialized vehicles, and equipment provide in duplicate the following documents to facilitate the process of exemption:
- A copy of the commercial invoice
- Tax Exemption (TDI I E-03) for duly filled (6 copies) . The form can be obtained from the Authority
- Investment License
- ITS clean report of findings.
If goods are already in transit you may also include the bill of lading / airway bill / road or rail consignment note and packing list.
Do not wait for the goods to arrive. If they are already warehoused, you may include the warehousing entry form. Also get your import certificate before you import.
A sales agreement and ownership transfer form C.27 duly endorsed by customs, if items have been purchased from a bonded warehouse, will also be necessary.
For first arrival privileges get a work permit first. Then get your privileges by attaching in duplicate to your application your work permit, passport photocopies, investment license, appointment letter in case of an employee, import documents and 6 copies of duly completed TD/TE-02 forms for the vehicle/personal effects and other documents as they apply.
Ensure that the vehicle is imported within 12 months from the date of your first arrival and is not more than 2000 c.c. In the case of an old vehicle, any engine capacity is acceptable and you only need the registration documents showing that you have owned it for more than 12 months before coming into Uganda.
MIGA coverage: Uganda became a member of the MIGA in 1992. Insure your investments before they are on the ground. MIGA coverage insures a wide range of non-commercial risks.
Apply to MIGA through the UIA.
If you need Industrial land, simply make preliminary sketches of building plans and bills of quantities to indicate the extent of land required and tax relief on construction materials.
Get your Immigration Permits approved through the UIA. These include special passes, visas, visitors pass, dependents pass, work permits and certificate of residence.
For visas, visitors pass, dependant pass and special pass, you only need to file a formal application. Dependants however, are attached to holders of work permits.
For an entry permit / work permit, the investor / employee should submit the following:
- Two recent passport size photographs
- photocopies of your passport
- a completed entry permit application form.
Forms can be obtained from the Immigration Department or Ministry of Internal Affairs.
An employee also has to submit photocopies of academic qualifications, résumé and letter of appointment.
For a certificate of residence, the applicant should have stayed in Uganda continuously for at least 15 years and be at least 50 years old. Relevant documents should be attached.
With only US $ 50,000 in fixed qualifying assets, a local investor is relieved from paying corporation tax, with holding tax, and tax on dividends for 3-5 years.
A foreign investor needs US$ 300,000 in new investments to qualify. Remember, put your money in a priority sector under schedule II of the Code in order to be awarded the certificate of incentives . Any additional qualifying investments in excess of US$ 300,000 will earn you additional relief of up to 6 years.
The Incentives certificate is issued after commercial operations of the project have started . If you are an exporter, drawbacks of duties and sales tax payable on imported inputs used in producing goods for export will be added to your package of incentives.
Good News For Existing Foreign Enterprises and Prospective Service Businesses
Your proposal may require operating licenses such as air transport, tourist agency, insurance, banking, tree felling, fishing, mining, and telecommunications . The UIA will directly assist in this process. The maximum time taken to process an investment license from the time of receipt of a complete application is 21 days.
We offer facilities even to very small scale formal businesses . For a Ugandan you only need an investment program in the first year of US $ 50,000 in qualifying assets, and for a foreigner, US $ 100,000.
We make a special offer to this category of investors. We recognize existing foreign enterprises which were operational before the coming into force of the Code as soon as information relating to their past performance is provided .
The following documents are essential:
- Certificate of Incorporation or registered business;
- Articles and Memorandum of Association if a Limited company;
- Audited accounts for at least the past two accounting years and the corresponding income tax clearance certificates and trading licenses.
The aim is to encourage such enterprises to expand existing operations or diversify into new products and services with a capital base that will qualify them for incentives.
For new foreign investors who propose to engage in major investments but wish to develop their business plans by exploring the market, obtain an investment license to facilitate trade in the imported products. One work permit for the Resident Director is also assured . Only US $ 50,000 in either fixed assets or working capital will qualify you for this license.
Within three years, we review your progress to determine your qualification for full or partial incentives.
The special offer is also extended to professional practices especially those with training programs for local staff.
When applying for a certificate of incentives, you only need to provide covering documents for the investment on the ground so that we get the calculations right. The UIA staff thereafter make a site visit as part of the appraisal process.
Such documents as audited accounts, valuation report, land title/tenancy agreement or repossession certificate, purchase and import documents, and any other relevant documents will be helpful.
Externalize your funds
We are happy when you bring in your money, and do not mind whether you borrow from outside or bring technology and expertise. The reason is simple: we facilitate you to externalize profits, dividends, fees, royalties, interest and or loan repayment, emoluments and proceeds on disposal of assets.
We give you a certificate of approval to externalize whatever funds are applicable . We then, liaise with the Bank of Uganda to effect externalization.
In order to help you, apply formally for this certificate, attaching documents which indicate the inflow of the funds under consideration, and the terms and conditions that may be attached. In most cases, this will be some form of agreement of contract .
Get a joint venture partner through the UIA to leverage financing, technical or management expertise.
If you identify a partner yourself to leverage financing, technical or management expertise, get yourself registered at UIA in order to make the arrangement not only legal to ensure equitable and mutual benefit between both parties, but also to arrange for externalization of the related funds.