The 2nd CEO Forum was held at H.E Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Country Home, in Irenga, Ntungamo on the 30th June 2022. THEMED “Positioning the Private Sector for New Markets & Business Opportunities for Sustainability and thriving economies in the region and the African continent”.
East Africa is home to some of the fastest-growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. With its highly diversified economy, Kenya continues to play a leading role in the region despite facing uncertain political and economic headwinds. Tanzania meanwhile presents an exciting prospect for investors with its renewed openness to the private sector and attractive opportunities in energy, agriculture and tourism. With the addition of DRC, the East African Community now boasts a market of 300 million people and continued integration with investment in flagship regional infrastructure projects could unlock the full potential of the East African market.
The experts offered their advice on leveraging opportunities to position Uganda’s private sector in East Africa, highlight the markets to watch and share their outlook for the region as it navigates national, regional and global challenges.
Key Policy Issues identified to inform PCF’s Agenda
As identified by the third National Development Plan (NDP III) through the Private Sector Development Program, the Private Sector in Uganda is weak and uncompetitive to sustainably drive growth as an engine. In order to promote the private sector, the following presentations were made:
- Positioning Uganda’s private sector for new markets
- Development of private equity in Uganda
- Opportunities for the private sector in oil and gas subsector
Some of the resolutions from the 2nd Private Sector Bi-annual CEO Forum
- That Uganda establishes an Export Insurance Credit Fund. The Fund is meant to manage risks related to insecurity and perceived insecurity that deter the Private Sector from exporting to high-risk new Markets such as DRC, South Sudan, among others.
- That Uganda invest in Transport Infrastructure Development.
- Road infrastructure: Construct Toll Road Networks into the DRC to reduce the Cost of Doing Business and increase timely market access.
- Air cargo Services: Uganda Airlines and Uganda Air Cargo to invest in buying Planes for Trade facilitation.
- Railway transport: Build the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to transport Goods and services at reduced costs.
- Water transport: Build Bridges and invest in bigger Water Vessels along River Congo/ Congo Basin.
- That Uganda invest in Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Infrastructure Development.
- Telecommunication infrastructure: Investment in Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) so as to extend Services to the New Markets of DRC, South Sudan, among others.
- Enhance capacity of Uganda Broad Casting Corporation (UBC): Invest in broadcasting infrastructure such as masts so as the serve the underserved new Market areas.
- That UMEME reduces Electricity Tariffs. In order to enhance Value Addition and processing for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), there is need to reduce on the cost of electricity.
- That in order to increase aggregate demand / domestic consumption, priority should be on building capacity through Government Programs such as; Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) and the Parish Development Model (PDM).
- That there is need for capacity building for Local Content in the Oil and Gas Subsector. Government to support intending players in the Oil and Gas Industry through funding to build their capacity as well as encouraging joint ventures to tap into foreign Technical Expertise to close existing Technical Gaps.
- That government ensures that there is Cheap Financing for Private Sector Development. Government to remain committed to ensuring that there is cheap finance for the Business Community. The Government is to put more money in Uganda Development Bank (UDB) and reduce the Cost of finance and ensure that many business people can easily access finance.
- That government reviews possibilities for eliminating Withholding Tax on Private capital funds (equity & debt) and reduction of the capital gains tax from the present 30%.
Private sector is an actor in development, which drives sustainable economic growth by bringing with its opportunities in value creation. The strategic and well-informed inclusion of the private sector in decision making and activities must be a key part of all sector players.