In a recent development, government officials in Uganda have taken steps to address concerns raised by foreign investors. Col Edith Nakalema, the head of the State House Investor Protection Unit, held a press conference in Kampala on October 11, 2023, to discuss the measures being taken to streamline the entry and exit processes for investors.
Col Nakalema explained that a growing number of foreign investors have approached the State House Investor Protection Unit with complaints about bureaucracy, red tape, and delays in obtaining investment permits. Since the unit’s establishment in May of this year, over 40 meetings have been held with various investors. A significant portion of these investors, predominantly of Chinese and Indian origin, expressed frustration with the delays they encounter at government offices.
The primary issues reported by these investors are bureaucracy and delays caused by red tape at various government offices. Col Nakalema noted that a lack of patriotism among some officials contributes to these challenges. To address this, the unit has been working in collaboration with the Directorate of Immigration and Citizenship, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, and other ministries and agencies. Their aim is to streamline entry and exit procedures at locations like Entebbe International Airport to facilitate the smooth flow of foreign investors.
Col Nakalema also emphasized the importance of coordinating efforts with government agencies responsible for promoting Uganda as a preferred investment destination. These collaborative measures are intended to create a more favorable environment for foreign investors.
However, Col Nakalema acknowledged that she still receives complaints from locals regarding issues such as land grabbing, evictions, and other corruption-related cases, which do not fall under her unit’s purview. In such instances, her office collaborates with the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and other government agencies to ensure that these cases are referred to the appropriate entities.
Brig Gen Henry Isoke, the head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, confirmed that his office is prepared to investigate and prosecute suspects in cases of fraud or corruption related to investments. While not directly dealing with investors, they take action if fraud in obtaining necessary paperwork is detected.
The State House Investor Protection Unit was established by President Museveni with the duty of arresting and prosecuting individuals who engage in corrupt practices to hinder investment processes in the country, including soliciting bribes for licenses and permits.