Thursday, December 23, 2010


Written by Edward Ssekika
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
Foreigners doing business in Uganda will have to adhere to a strict code of conduct if the DP presidential candidate, Norbert Mao, is elected president in next year’s elections.
Mao says he plans to impose tough conditions on foreign investors often accused of abusing the rights of local people they employ.
Mao told his supporters in Fort Portal municipality on December 14, that if elected, he would reduce on tax incentives currently enjoyed by foreign investors and restrict their investments to particular sectors of the economy.
He accused the NRM government of promoting foreign investors but marginalizing local ones. “The NRM government has an unfair policy of promoting and protecting foreign investors at the expense of our local investors. Government has been giving benefits in form of tax holidays, free land to foreign investors, but our local investors struggle on their own with no tax cuts, tax holidays and free land,” Mao said.
He added: “As DP, we want this to change as soon as we take over government.” He wondered why despite all the incentives, foreigners invest in small retail businesses that would otherwise be reserved for Ugandans.
“Why should government give a tax holiday and free land to a foreigner to put up a hotel? There are many Ugandans with standard hotels already; such benefits like tax cuts, tax holiday and free land in the Norbert Mao government will, instead, be extended to a local investor to expand their investments,” he said.
DP investment policy, Mao said, would not allow foreigners to engage in retail businesses. Mao noted that some investors in Uganda today are not worthy of being to be called foreign investors, arguing that they are also engaged in petty businesses.
He describes the current government policies on foreign investment as weak and promoting dependency.
“Foreign investors shall not be allowed to carry out petty retail business—retail business shall be left only and only to Ugandans,” he added. Citing the example of United Kingdom and the US, Mao said in those countries petty and retail business is restricted and left in the hands of citizens.
“In UK or USA, for example, if you are a foreigner and you want to start making and selling chapatti, you will not be allowed. You will be told that engaging in such business is only a privilege of the natives of that country,” he added.
There have been growing public concern that foreigners were investing in retail shops and supermarkets that do not employ local people and as a result rendering more Ugandans who would do such businesses unemployed.
Mao promised to set up a fund, the Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund (CEEF), to support local entrepreneurs.
To ensure that foreign investments offer employment opportunities to Ugandans, Mao says he will ensure that certain jobs, which can be performed by Ugandans are not given to foreigners.
He says some foreign companies have made it a policy that all managerial positions are occupied by foreigners.
He pledged to extend electricity to all rural areas and cut power tariffs to make it affordable to the poor. He reasons that extending power to rural areas and cutting power tariffs will encourage development and create jobs.

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