By Priscillar Nyamahunge
Uganda Investment Authority-UIA has called on all investors with keen interest in setting up businesses in Northern Uganda to follow the investment guide that was formulated in 2008.
The guide, which was launched in 2009, has guidelines investors are meant to follow most especially in acquiring land in the northern region.
It also included aspects of corporate social responsibility that needed to be offered by investors.
The guide was formulated in partnership with International Alert, an organization operating in Northern Uganda.
According to David Okidi, the project manager Business for Peace at International Alert, Northern Uganda underwent a serious conflict under the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Okidi said that, the guide was meant to help investors avoid generating hostility and further friction in the post-conflict region.
While addressing a stakeholders meeting of people from North and Eastern Uganda at Masindi Aribas hotel on Tuesday, Valentine Ogwang, the acting director Investment Promotion at Uganda Investment Authority said that, the guide is necessary because it helps investors live in harmony with the community they operate in.
During the meeting, stakeholders were looking at sectors that need to be updated in the guide.
According to Ogwang, the 2008 guide put emphasis on the proceeds of acquiring land before setting up business and also guided on how to relate with people. He however said that the trend is changing.
“Previously, we looked at northern Uganda as an area for farming due to its fertile soils and how people could offer land. However, people now want to engage in agro-processing and add value to their products. Therefore, new guidelines need to be set up on how to maintain good working relationships between the agro-processors and the farmers who are locals themselves,”Ogwang said.
Ogwang said that, people are being sensitized to exploit different investment opportunities but with a core note of maintaining harmony with the community, regardless of whether they are foreign or local investors.
Michael George Egunyu, the LC5 Chairperson Soroti said that, some people still have resistance towards investments because some people do not observe the guidelines as they seek for areas of investment. An update of the guidelines will be compiled and disseminated before this year ends.
Alex Oremo Alot, the LC5 Chairperson Lira said, “We want to educate he community on the benefits of investment. We are also encouraging the community to rent out leased land to investors such that they can co-own in development.”
Meanwhile, Benson Ogwang-Ogoo, the former LC5 Otuke said, “People have a perception that investors only have to be foreign. We need to educate them and help them embrace and exploit all investment opportunities at hand.”
Santa Joyce Laker, from Atiak Sugarcane out growers’ cooperative society said that the investment guide acts as a bridge between the investor and the community.