The Observer Kampala Alon Mwesigwa
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

Uganda has gained seven spots in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report after the country undertook reforms that eased payment of taxes, especially with the construction of the Malaba one-stop border post.

The World Bank’s forecast report for the year 2017 notes that Uganda’s ranking will improve from 122nd position in 2016 to 115th for 2017. At least 190 economies were ranked.

The report says the country made starting business easier « by eliminating the requirement that a com- missioner of oaths must sign compliance declarations. »

« By repealing a requirement to have registration documents signed before a commission of oaths, Uganda significantly reduced the time needed by entrepreneurs to start a business, » said the report.

On paying taxes, Uganda eliminated a requirement for tax returns to be submitted in paper copy, following the introduction of online services. The construction of Malaba one-stop border post has reduced the time both exporters and importers spend clearing their goods at the border.

Some investors look at the Doing Business report as they assess the countries they want to invest in. Dr Peter Ngategize, the head of the competitiveness and investment climate strategy secretariat at the ministry of finance, said: « This improvement on Uganda’s ranking means government ministries and departments must double their efforts on promoting compliance and efficiency on service delivery. »

While Uganda made impressive improvements, the report says a lot needs to be done especially on corruption in customs. « The Uganda Revenue Authority has been implementing various solutions to fight corruption, such as requiring officials to declare their assets, increasing salaries and providing training on integrity. Uganda recently introduced a modernized version of the Asycuda world system, but its impact on fighting corruption remains to be seen, » the report says.

Rwanda and Kenya still performed better than Uganda. Rwanda was ranked 56th, an improvement from 62nd in 2016. Rwanda improved land tenure security, which « benefited women the most. »

Rwanda also has an electronic portal that combines company registration, information on taxes to be paid and value added tax registration — saving entrepreneurs an average of two days, the report says.

Meanwhile, Kenya ranked 92nd after it eased the process of getting electricity by introducing the use of a geographic information system that allows the utility firm to provide price quotes to customers.

Tanzania trailed the region at 132nd after it made only one reform of expanding the credit bureau borrower coverage and began to distribute credit data from retailers.

However, Tanzania made it more complicated to pay taxes by increasing the frequency of filing of the skills development levy and more costly by introducing a workers’ compensation tariff paid by employers.

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