Didier Viney, Director at DTOS International, a Mauritian based firm has advised Uganda to adjust a host of conditions if more investors are to do business in the country.
“Uganda needs to adjust a few regulations if it is to be more business-friendly,” noted Viney while making a presentation titled: Ease of Doing Business (2018) Mauritius Vs Uganda: Quick wins for Uganda based on the Mauritian experience, at in Kampala recently.
DTOS is a leading management company operating in the Mauritian global business sector for the last 20 years.
Founded in 1993 and licensed by the Financial Services Commission, DTOS provides a comprehensive range of professional services including company formation, corporate and trust administration, fund administration, accounting, tax services, wealth management, third party fund accounting, financial outsourcing and business model optimization.
Viney says by eliminating inspection of business premises by Uganda Revenue Authority, obtaining trade licenses through the KCCA portal (secured and e-commerce complaint), paying license fees through mobile money and obtaining NSSF registration numbers through the Fund’s portal would reduce the time taken by 9 days.
According to the index, starting a business in Uganda takes 24 days and 13 procedures to complete. This is compared to 5 days in Mauritius. In New Zealand, the procedure takes half a day.
Currently, Uganda ranks number 122 in the Ease of Doing Business Index while Mauritius is number 25, and New Zealand is number 1 in the world.
The index is published annually by the World Bank. The country that ranks high has a more business-friendly regulatory environment, has more streamlined regulations and stronger protections of property rights.
Filing taxes takes 195 hours per year in Uganda, 152 in Mauritius and 50 in Estonia. In Uganda 31 payments have to be made per year. It takes 8 hours in Mauritius and 3 in Hong Kong, the overall best performer.
Going by the above, Uganda can go by the basic principle to make tax rules and interpretations clearer to avoid disputes.
“Taking lessons from Estonia, make sure all filing, remittances and payments can only be done online. Tax audits do not take longer than one and a half hours to be complied with,” Viney argued.
On enforcing contracts, to resolve a commercial dispute and assess the quality of the judicial process takes 490 days in Uganda, less than 519 in Mauritius and 164 in Singapore.
The general take-always for Uganda and Mauritius are: Speed up filing and service, speed up trial and judgment, speed up enforcement of the judgment and actively promote arbitration.
“Ultimately, a favourable regulatory climate encourages entrepreneurship, lowers barriers to starting businesses and reduces the size of the informal sector in favour of the formal sector,” Viney pointed out.