By: Ismael Kasooha
Uganda has held its first ever Japan-Uganda Business Forum in Tokyo, Japan to attract Japanese investors and business community to Uganda.
The main objective of the Uganda-Japan Business Forum is to strengthen Bilateral Trade, as well as promote and explore investment opportunities for the mutual benefit of both Countries.
While addressing the forum at Tokyu Hotel in Tokyo, Japan on Thursday, Premier Robinah Nabbanja said that although bilateral relations between Uganda and Japan remain Strong, the private sector needs to become active to make use of the cordial relationship between the two sister countries.
PM Nabbanja, (extreme left) participates during a Panel Discussion at the Business Forum in Tokyo Japan
“Although our bilateral relations with Japan are cordial as governments the private sector has not taken advantage to trade and invest in both countries. For instance, Uganda has many untapped resources such as iron which is 75% pure and many other minerals”, said Nabbanja.
Nabbanja used this opportunity to invite Japanese companies to come to Uganda and exploit the various opportunities in the country especially in the mining, agriculture and industrialization. She pledged total support to Japanese investors who will come to Uganda and assured them of incentives from government.
“We shall, as government, ensure that all the predicaments failing investors are addressed and whoever tries to sabotage this noble cause is dealt with,” said Nabbanja.
She said that some investors have been frustrated by middlemen who keep tossing them and end up not investing in the country without the knowledge of government.
Nabbanja asked Uganda Investments Authority to ensure that the process of registering investors is made simple and fast because the country needs to move on.
Nabbanja informed the investors and the business community that Uganda has a fully liberalized economy and total political commitment by government to ensure that trade thrives.
“Our President is committed to help investors who come to the country because we want to industrialize and create jobs for the people of Uganda,” said Nabbanja.
Shinichi Nakatani, the State Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan who also attended the business forum said that Japan is open to dealing with Uganda.
Nakatani said that the Japanese government through its agency, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been supporting Uganda in many fields and will continue doing so.
Meanwhile Robert Mukiza, the director general Uganda Investment authority assured potential investors that the investment environment is very friendly and they ought to utilize.
“If you are setting up a factory in Uganda your equipment shall be imported untaxed. Uganda is a very friendly country and its location is strategic. When you establish a factory and pay all the required taxes you are free to repatriate your profits to your country or anywhere,” said Mukiza.
He said that some people still assume that the business legal framework is cumbersome, unpredictable and there are high costs of engagement which far from the truth.
A cross section of Investors attending the Business Forum at Hotel Tokyu in Japan on Thursday
“Uganda’s political and economic development since 1986 has been remarkable. Our legal and institutional framework has been updated to make it business friendly and Uganda’s economic reforms have created an enabling environment for investment,” said Mukiza.
Bashir Lubega, a Members of Parliament from Mubende municipality said that such a forum should have taken place yesterday.
“I think we delayed as a country to have such a forum to open Uganda to the Japanese who have advanced technology and can help us develop,” said Lubega.
Tophace Kaahwa, the Ugandan Ambassador to Japan implored the business sector in Japan to invest in the oil sector in Uganda because Uganda is developing its oil and gas sector.
The Business forum has been organized by the Ugandan Embassy in Japan in collaboration with United Nations Industrial Development (UNIDO) sector and the government of Japan.
The theme for the Business forum is “Boosting economic recovery and enterprise resilience through Sustainable Business”.