Ugandan government officials have promised free land and tax incentives to Kenyan investors who want to set up processing industries in the land-locked country.
Ugandan Agriculture State Minister Bright Rwamirama said the country has large tracks of land and farm produce, noting that investors only need to set up industries to process and do value-addition on the farm produce.
Mr. Rwamirama said Uganda requires 20 tea processing plants to cover the surplus tea and package it for the international market. He reckons that the business climate is good – from production to post-harvesting and value addition.
He said the country also needs modern storage warehouses to address post-harvest wastage. “When we call you to come and invest, we will also help you find a new market. We provide cheap credit to farmers… and Kenyans who invest in Uganda will get credit at the same rates as Ugandans,” explained Rwamirama.
He said the Ugandan government has invested in research, production system, industry, and primary processing to offer valuable information to both farmers and investors.
“So if you want to invest in these areas, we will show you how to invest and there are incentives available,” said the minister.
Ugandan State Minister for Investment and Privatisation Evelyn Anite said 25 industrial parks across the country will be given free of charge to Kenya investors.
Anite said the investors will also enjoy nine tax incentives once they incorporate their businesses either in Uganda or Kenya. “We give you free land in our 25 gazetted industrial parks across the country without any conditions. You just have to incorporate your business in Nairobi or Kampala,” said Anite.
She said those who will be importing advanced machinery will also enjoy free import duty. The investors are also assured of a ready market as the government will vouch for their manufactured commodities.
“We are looking for strategic partners to add value to our minerals,” said Anite. She asked investors to get into the water logistics because the two countries connect easily through Lake Victoria. “Chose Uganda as your investment hub because we are close to you and we can be able to develop together,” said Anite.
Minister of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives Uganda Walakira Godfrey urged Kenyan investors to invest in the coffee sector which is the most traded commodity globally after oil and gas. He said Uganda is the number one coffee exporter in Africa but it still could not meet the global demand.
Walakira said the figures are good and they cannot go wrong with farmers getting Sh150 per Kilo. “In Uganda, your number one thing to invest in is coffee. We invite investment into the coffee value chain as we seek to produce instant coffee. We produce seven million bags per annum yet the target is 20 million bags in the next five years,” said Walakira.
Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya Chief Executive Officer Hosea Machuki said Kenya is the lead exporter of Avocado and is willing to share market information with Uganda to fill the deficit on the global market and march Mexico. He also said Kenya is also struggling to meet the export demand for sweet potatoes.