Uganda’s ranking in the 2017 World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business has improved by seven places, a development that shows that ongoing business environment reforms being implemented by the government are starting to bear fruit.
Uganda now ranks 115th out of the 190 assessed economies, which is a step up by seven places from the previous year while in Sub-Saharan Africa, the country ranks 12th out of 48 economies. Uganda recorded improvements in six of the ten indicators that the World Bank uses to assess the economies. The Doing Business report, which was launched on Oct. 25 in Washington, US, recognizes Uganda among the 29 economies that implemented reforms in three or more of the ten indicators.
The report, released under the theme, “Equal Opportunity for All,” is the 14th in a series of reports produced by the World Bank, and it basically investigates the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. The goal of the Doing Business series is to provide objective data for use by the governments in designing sound business regulatory policies.
The ten indicators upon which economies are gauged include; starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
Uganda made starting a business easier by eliminating the requirement to commission and file a declaration of compliance when incorporating a company, thanks to the Business Licences (Miscellaneous Repeals) Act, which entered into force on July 1, 2015.
Uganda also made paying taxes easier by eliminating a requirement for tax returns to be submitted in paper copy following online submission. This reform also relieved the administrative burden on businesses filing corporate tax and VAT returns.
Carolyn Ndawula, the programme manager for trade and competitiveness at the World Bank Country Office in Kampala, noted that Uganda’s improvement by seven places was because of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), which implemented the reforms.
Moses Kibirige, the head of the Sector Competitiveness Programme at the World Bank Group Uganda country office, argued that if URA, NSSF, URSB and KCCA worked closely together, everything could be done within a day.
“That would lead to annual private sector cost saving in excess of $300m,” he said.
Dickson Kateshumbwa, the commissioner for customs at URA, explained that they have created a single point of declaration and payment assessment for small and medium scale enterprises, which has helped small businesses that do not have the expertise or money to engage an expert to file income tax returns. He also noted that a one-stop centre for URA, KCCA and URSB is in the pipeline.
Gideon Badagawa, the executive director of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), was cognizant of the progress saying for the last four consecutive years, Uganda has been improving on its ranking, moving from 155 in 2014, to 135 (2015); 122 (2016) to 115 in 2017.
Source: All Africa