There are numerous regulatory agencies in Uganda. Businesses have to interface with one or more of these statutory bodies in Uganda depending on the nature of the services they offer and the permits or licenses they require to run smoothly. This article highlights some key agencies that local and foreign businesses may come into contact with during the course of carrying out business activities in the country.
This is one of the prominent regulatory agencies, also called the companies’ house, in Uganda. The Bureau regulates business registrations (including winding up and liquidation proceedings); it is responsible for civil registrations (including marriages and divorces); the registration of patents and intellectual property rights, and any other registrations required by law .
Functions of URSB are summarized below:
- To provide accessible, reliable & innovative registration services under the relevant laws;
- To maintain registers, data, and records on registrations affected by the bureau and to act as a clearing house for information and data on those registrations;
- To evaluate, from time to time, the practicability and efficacy of the relevant laws and advise the government accordingly; and
- To carry on research and also disseminate research findings in the fields covered by the relevant laws through seminars, workshops, publications or other means and
- To recommend to the government any improvements in the relevant laws that appear to the bureau to be required as a result.
This is the tax house of Uganda. The URA assesses, collects, and accounts for the Central Government Tax Revenue. It provides advice to the Ugandan government on matters of policy relating to all revenue sources.
The functions of URA include the following:
- To administer and give effect to tax laws, and for this purpose to assess, collect, and account for all revenue to which those laws apply;
- To advise the Minister on revenue implications, tax administration, and aspects of policy changes relating to all taxes in the country.
- To perform such other functions in relation to revenue as the Minister may direct.
The UIA initiates and provides support measures that enhance investment in Uganda and advises the government on appropriate policies conducive for investment promotion and growth.
The functions of UIA include:
- Issuing investment licenses to foreign investors
- Attracting and retaining value-adding domestic and foreign investments in Uganda.
- Advising the government on investment policies and advocating for a competitive business environment in Uganda.
- Organizing and participating in various exhibitions, trade missions, and industry conferences both in-country and abroad.
- Implementing government policies and programs to stimulate economic growth and improve the productivity of Uganda’s private sector
- Providing investment advisory services to potential investors looking to set up in Uganda.
This is a ministry responsible for policy direction, national standards, and coordination of all matters concerning lands, housing, and urban development in Uganda.
The main roles and functions of MLHUD include the following:
- To formulate national policies, strategies, and programmes in the land, housing, and urban development sectors;
- To initiate, review and make amendments to existing legislation in the lands, housing and urban development sub sectors;
- Set national standards for matters regarding sustainable use and development of land and the provision of safe, planned, and improved housing/human settlements;
- Monitor and coordinate initiatives in the local governments as regards the lands, housing, and urban development subsectors;
- Provide support, supervision, and technical back-stopping to local governments on matters regarding lands, housing, and urban development;
- Liaise with relevant stakeholders for the mobilization of resources in support of national lands, housing and urban development initiatives;
- Liaise with neighboring countries for the proper maintenance of territorial boundaries;
- Provide guidance and effective management of lands, housing and urbanization;
- Mobilization of financial and technical assistance for the development of lands, housing and urban development sub sectors.
5. National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA)
This is the principal agency in Uganda, charged with the responsibility of coordinating, monitoring, regulating and supervising environmental management in the country. NEMA spearheads the development of environmental policies, laws, regulations, standards, and guidelines; and guides the government on healthy atmosphere management in Uganda. In doing this, NEMA contributes to social-economic development and wise use of natural resources, focusing on providing support to the government’s main goal of ensuring sustainable development.
Core Functions of NEMA include:
- Coordinating the various environmental management activities being undertaken by the lead agencies.
- Promote the integration of environmental considerations into development policies, plans, programmes and projects, with a view to ensuring the proper management and rational utilization of environmental resources, on sustainable yield basis, for the improvement of the quality of human life in Uganda.
- Examine land use patterns to determine their impact on the quality and quantity of natural resources.
- Carry out surveys, which will assist in the proper management and conservation of the environment.
- Advise the Government on legislative and other measures for the management of the environment or the implementation of relevant international conventions, treaties and agreements.
- Mobilize and monitor the use of financial and human resources for environmental management.
- Identify projects and programmes for which environmental audit or environmental monitoring must be conducted under this Act.
- Initiate and evolve procedures and safeguards for the prevention of accidents, which may cause environmental degradation and evolve remedial measures where accidents occur e.g. floods, landslides and oil spills.
6. Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC)
This is the institution responsible for managing migration to and from Uganda. The services offered by the DCIC include border management (facilitation and regulation); processing and issuing of visas, passes, and residence permits; processing and issuing national and regional travel documents; inspection, investigation, prosecution, and removal of illegal immigrants; verifying and processing Ugandan citizenship.
Functions of the DCIC include the following:
- Facilitate the legal and orderly movement of persons to and from Uganda.
- To process, verify and grant Uganda citizenship
- Regulation of the issue of national passports and other travel documents;
- To facilitate and provide a conducive immigration environment for foreign investment in Uganda.
- To enforce national and regional immigration laws for the security and development of Uganda.
This is an autonomous body that is responsible for regulating the establishment, management, and operation of retirement benefit schemes in Uganda in both the private and public sectors. The Authority is responsible for supervising institutions which provide retirement benefit products and services. URBRA is an oversight body and NOT a retirement benefits scheme.
The functions of the URBRA include the following:
- To regulate and supervise the establishment, management, and operation of retirement benefit schemes in Uganda, in both the public and private sectors.
- License retirement benefit schemes in Uganda.
- License custodians, trustees, administrators, and fund managers of retirement benefit schemes;
- Approve an actuary or auditor of any retirement benefit scheme.
- Protect the interests of members and beneficiaries of retirement benefit schemes, including the promotion of transparency and accountability.
- Improve understanding and promote the development of the retirement benefits sector.
- Promote the stability and integrity of the financial sector through ensuring the stability and security of retirement benefit schemes.
- Ensure sustainability of the retirement benefits sector with a view to promoting long term capital development.
- Advise the Minister on all matters relating to the development and operation of the retirement benefits sector.
- Implement government policy relating to retirement benefit schemes.
- Promote public awareness of the retirement benefit sector.
This Commission regulates the modern communications infrastructure in Uganda. It regulates the communications sector, which includes telecommunications, broadcasting, radio communication, postal communications, data communication, and infrastructure. The scope of the Commission spans over three entities: the Uganda Communications Commission, the Rural Communications Development Fund, and Uganda Institute of Communications & Technology.
The functions of UCC include the following:
- Licensing and standards;
- Spectrum management;
- Tariff regulation;
- Research and development;
- Consumer empowerment;
- Policy advice & implementation;
- Rural communications development; and
- Capacity building.
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