DOING BUSINESS IN UGANDA IN 2020
Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC has been efficiently and effectively assisting our Clients with i) Uganda business registration ii) business licensing iii) Uganda business banking solutions iv) visa options and staff recruitment strategies and v) workspace rental solutions.
Uganda company registration summary
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Advantages and disadvantages
Advantages of Uganda company registration
- Uganda has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 1995 and thus enjoys all of the benefits of membership;
- The economy of Uganda is rapidly expanding, posting growth rates of between 4.56% and 6.16% since 2014. The only exception to this was in 2016, where growth dipped to 2.32%. Despite this temporary slowing of the growth rate, progress rebounded to 5% in 2017;
- Uganda is rich in natural resources, with plentiful amounts of gold, diamonds, iron ore, nickel and other rare earth metals. The mining industry is expected to grow over the next few years, as the relatively untapped industry is seeing large amounts of foreign and domestic investment. Coffee beans are also a significant Ugandan export;
- The government of Uganda has shown a willingness to modernize the economy to best allow for the success of its industries. The government has worked to increase investment in infrastructure, especially in the transport and communication industries, as well as foreign direct investment, which has increased to nearly 20% of GDP;
- A Ugandan private limited liability company (LLC) requires only 1 shareholder and 2 directors;
- New companies in Uganda do not require a minimum share capital to be paid during formation if our Client chooses to incorporate an LLC;
- It is easy to open global corporate bank accounts to support Uganda company formation. Healy Consultants works with internationally recognised banks to provide corporate bank account services;
- The Ugandan government does not impose any regulations on capital transfers within and outside Uganda. As a result, foreign investors do not need to seek any approval from the Bank of Uganda in order to repatriate profits and dividends or make payments for imports or any other services.
Disadvantages of Uganda company registration
- Uganda business formation can be slow and complicated. With the assistance of a corporate services provider, Uganda company setup can be completed in an average of 33 days;
- Uganda business registration requires a company secretary, though this may be a natural person or an automated service, as well as a registered address. The company secretary does not need to be located at the registered office;
- The Ugandan government must inspect your firm’s business premises before granting permission to operate;
- A Ugandan LLC is liable for a corporate tax rate of 30%, and may also be liable to pay a sales rate of 18%;
- Uganda is only ranked as the 115th most competitive economy in the world on the 2019 Global Competitiveness Report ;
- Uganda is ranked as only the 116th easiest country to do business in. This result from the World Bank lists poor electrical infrastructure, difficulties with cross-border trading, and barriers to starting businesses as the main hurdles to trade;
- Uganda is perceived as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, being ranked as the 149th least corrupt country in the world in the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International;
- Uganda was negatively ranked as the 102nd freest economy in the Heritage Foundation’s 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, a measure of freedom enjoyed in business, trade, monetary, financial, investment and labour markets. This is a significant drop from being ranked 74th in 2012, showing a lack of progress in the country. Sharp declines in financial freedom are cited as the main reason for this;
- Uganda has limited infrastructural facilities due to its poor system of roads, rail, electricity, and water. Moreover, only 22% of the urban Ugandan population had access to electricity in 2017 this poses operational challenges for businesses incorporated in Uganda.
Best uses for a Ugandan company
- Infrastructure investments and supply: Uganda has taken advantage of its political stability to exploit its natural resources and use the profits to fund infrastructure investment in the country. Construction materials and supplies are therefore in demand, as are the engineering skills needed to complete these complex projects. Learn more about the Ugandan economy and its infrastructure spending.
- Time to incorporate: Seven weeks
- Cost to set up: US$18,300
- Minimum capital: US$0
- Physical office required: Yes
- Shareholders: 1
- Directors: 2
- Company secretary: Yes
- Resident director: No
- Corporate tax rate: 30%
- Corporate tax base: Worldwide
- Shelf companies: No
- Main company type: Limited company
Frequently asked questions
What is the name of the Ugandan companies registry?Company registration is managed in Uganda by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau. This government agency is also responsible for intellectual property protection in the country.
I want to know how to start a company in Uganda. How do I register my business?
Foreign entrepreneurs can expand their businesses into Uganda by filing the required documents with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau. The following documents must be filed: i) the company’s memorandum and articles of association ii) a government form stating the company’s share capital structure and iii) a declaration that the company complies with the requirements of the Companies Act, including how they relate to directors, shareholders, the registered address and the company secretary. The entire process of establishing a business in Uganda can be completed within 7 weeks.
Learn more about the incorporation process in Uganda.
Instead of incorporating a new company, foreign companies may also register a branch in Uganda.
Where can I find information on business licences in Uganda?The Uganda Business Licensing Information Portal has a list of licences required in Uganda. Examples of Ugandan business licences include i) a forex bureau licence ii) an investment licence iii) an import and export licence and iv) mining licences.
How many directors and shareholders are required to complete Uganda business incorporation?If our Clients wish to incorporate a Uganda company, they must have at least 1 director and 1 shareholder.
Is it necessary to appoint a resident director when incorporating a company in Uganda?No. When incorporating in Uganda, appointing a resident director is not mandatory.
How much capital is required to complete the Uganda incorporation process?When incorporating in Uganda, only US$1 is required as initial share capital.
What are the pre-requisites for incorporating a business in Uganda?For incorporating in Uganda, our Clients will need to i) reserve the company name with the Uganda Registration Services bureau ii) filing of incorporation documents with the Office of Registrar iii) tax registration with the Uganda Revenue Authority iv) arrange a lease agreement for the premises and v) subscribe the company for an employee retirement plan at the National Social Security Fund.
Are there any restrictions on non-resident entrepreneurs when they incorporate in Uganda?No. Foreign entrepreneurs will be allowed to pursue business activities of their choice.
Useful links for Uganda
Government and public authority websites:
- Central Bank of Uganda
- Uganda Stock Exchange
- Uganda company name search
- Uganda Chamber of Commerce
- Uganda airports
- Investment Guide To Uganda
- Uganda Fiscal Guide 2012/13
- KPMG – Uganda budget brief 2015
- Uganda Tax Guide 2013
- Doing Business in Uganda
- Uganda – Country Profile