Kampala — In its six months review, Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) has registered 320 per cent success, licensing projects worth $641m (Shs2.3 trillion) for the period.
The 164 projects, expected to create an estimated 28,503 jobs, comprise 41 from local investors and 123 from other countries especially China, India and Kenya.
This was revealed in a report presented by UIA executive director Jolly Kaguhangire during a media briefing on Wednesday at their offices in Nakasero, Kampala.
She revealed that the investments exceeded those of the 2016/17 and 2017/2018 fourth and first quarter respectively, and targets of Shs727b.
She attributed the surge in investments to the easing of licensing processes and other key reforms in the industry such as online services through the one stop centre that renders easy access of all services of the authority.
"The e-Biz OSC is now electronically functioning. Payments and investment licences can be issued electronically. It takes two days to get an investment license and with the online application, it takes a few hours," she explained.
The investments are largely centred in the manufacturing sector with 91 companies licensed, 16 in agro processing, 13 in construction and seven in mining, among others.
The report comes after an investor survey conducted by the authority, covering operations in 2011-2016, to update their database, which targeted 1,784 investors (46 per cent coverage) in Uganda.
Only 488 licensed investments were engaged, of which 348 were operational with actual investments of has $14.8b (Shs50 trillion), employing 18,271 people. The authority ultimately targets creating one million jobs by 2020.
In a bid to boost investment, UIA has nine operational industrial parks and seeks to acquire others to make a total of 22 from Lira, Kabale, Gulu among others.
"We are at 98 per cent in compensating the squatters in Mbale Industrial Park, the few remaining are those complaining about our fees of compensation and others with issues of land titles but as we talk, the investor has started clearing the land for development. We are soon going to introduce him to the local leaders officially," Ms Kaguhangire said.
According to Mr Hamza Galiwango, the director lands development division at UIA, in three months, all development projects in the nine industrial parks will have commenced.
He said currently, there are six companies in Soroti focusing on the government fruit production, Jinja has Kiira motor vehicle assembling factory.
This is an addition to Tangshan, a land developer in Mbale Industrial park who intends to build factory shades that will be leased out to investors.
"In Mbarara, we have 47 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) operating in the park. We have just finalised the upgrade of the roads about 2km in the park, and in Jinja, where we have the Kiira motor vehicle assembling factory, on Monday, we called for bids and started water and power extension. In the next three months, we shall see active participation by all players in the industrial parks," he said.
He revealed reluctance in acquisition of land in Moroto District owing to boundary conflicts between Napak and Moroto districts over the name of the park but maintained that development will not be infringed as they seek to sort these challenges.
He also said the authority has extended water and electricity in 60 per cent of the industrial parks to push forward the move for development.
Early this month, the authority streamlined 20 per cent for SME development and for this, they have allotted 10 acres of land for domestic investors in Namanve industrial park that will be partitioned to work spaces to cater for 1,000 SMEs and seeks at employ 1,500 Ugandans in the process.
Mr Basil Ajer, the director Small and Medium Enterprises Division, said this will enhance the industry because a wide range of services can be provided at ago from one place, encouraging auditing, registration of companies, further boosting business in Uganda.
In addition, UIA has also trained 40 medium sized companies in textiles in Hoima District as well 238 business owners in entrepreneurial skills.
However, due to lack of operations from mainly logistics, freights and warehousing industries, 47 companies have been stripped of their land and given to other developers mainly agro processors.
UIA has also partnered with organisations such as Commonwealth Development Co-operation to encourage equity investment with companies whose revenues is above $10m (Shs36b).
The authority now seeks to have the investment code that has been tabled before Parliament passed so as to address regulatory framework and policies that will boost investment.