The Presidential Investors’ Round Table (PIRT) is a high-level forum chaired by H.E the President of the Republic of Uganda. The forum brings together a select group of both foreign and local investors to advise the Government on incentives, policies and the areas that will result in improved competitiveness of the country in attracting local and foreign investments. The PIRT an innovation by H.E the president, as a process and engagement has continued to grow and develop since its launch in 2004.
Currently, the government is running the sixth phase of PIRT which was launched in February 2019 and is expected to end in 2021. PIRT Phase VI covers six key thematic areas, that is; i) Oil and Gas, ii) Minerals Value Addition, iii) Agricultural Value Addition, iv) Tourism, v) Transport and Logistics and vi) Competitiveness and Ease of Doing Business.
From 10th to 12th March 2020 a review of progress meetings for all the six thematic areas was held at the statehouse in Entebbe, a number of issues hampering the competitiveness and development of the private sector were discussed and major decisions for implementation made. Key among these decisions were;
Ensuring that the Final Investment Decision (FID) on oil production is taken and that oil pipeline discussions with Tanzania are finalized; infrastructure development would be prioritized in all mineral-rich areas to ensure a reduction in costs of production; implementation of existing legislation under the agricultural sector would be prioritized and fast-tracking the implementation of all recent EU audit recommendations to curb the number of interceptions on Ugandan products in the EU market and securing more markets world over; to make an appeal on the VAT bill for upcountry lodges in parliament, such that this tax is scrapped; in the area of competitiveness, URA would meet with the private sector to iron out issues regarding the frequency of issuing tax clearance certificates; to fast track the Transport and Logistics Policy and ensure implementation of existing legislation under the transport and logistics thematic area.
H.E the president emphasized that the government was addressing a number of bottlenecks specifically, hardware issues which included, peace and security, transport, electricity, cost of labour and skills development, cost of money among others in order to improve Uganda’s competitiveness. He further mentioned that the performance of public servants was not satisfactory and urged all supervisors to task their subordinates in writing as a mechanism of holding them accountable since their performance was key in driving the country forward.
By Nassali Aminah.