ARUA. Uganda investment authority (UIA through its arm of business development is traversing northern Uganda in an effort to strengthen and sensitize local investors about investment processes and available opportunities.

While briefing the media in Arua city, Deputy Director for Business Development at Uganda Investment Authority, Mr Peter Muramira noted that strategies of Strengthening local investors is with aims of complementing what foreign investors undertake in the respective regions of the country.

“The mandate for UIA is to ensure that there is regional balanced development that is crosscutting in all sectors of the economy as being borrowed from the National Development Plan (NDP3). Together with the private sector and stakeholders of the governments, we identify where the comparative advantage that acts as a ticking point to spur development is”, Muramira said.

He said the Uganda investment Authority is collaborating with local leaders to form district investment committees to identify land for industrial parks based on the suitability of economic activities there.

Muramira disclosed that Arua is one of the strategic markets for Uganda that captures countries like South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC and Central African Republic because of its strategic location.

“I am happy that Arua is at a point where it is a haven for over four markets in DRC, South Sudan, Kenya and Central African Republic. And so, our mandate is to ensure that the local investors feel that they are supported and strengthened because there is this misconception that Uganda Investment Authority only focusses on foreign investment, which is wrong” Muramira added.

However, many local investors in West Nile have always complained of unreliable electricity and poor road networks to major markets, a concern that senior investment executive, investment promotion and development, at Uganda Investment Authority, Ms Prossie Kikabi said will soon be solved as investment authority is in talks with Electricity Transmission company to ensure a reliable power in West Nile by December this year.

Coupled with unreliable power for investment, business owners have also feared to disclose their business status as a way of avoiding high taxes by URA, an issue that Kikabi who also handles the Presidential Investors Round Table forum said requires more sensitization of the business community.

“We have been interacting with many businessmen, but our experience is that there is inadequate awareness among the business community in regard to tax matters. In the tax structure, the local businesses are actually more favored in terms of thresholds. We then need to partner with URA and try to sensitize the business community as much as possible”, Kikabi added.