Lessons learned on business compliance

Our focus on business compliance this past month has provided business owners with a roadmap to become and remain fully compliant. While compliance is often seen as meaning businesses see greater tax, registration and administrative obligations, the benefits from otherwise unavailable funding, partnership, and growth opportunities make these obligations worthwhile. Compliant businesses are more likely to access credit and investment capital, develop their operations more quickly, and benefit from partnerships with larger companies looking for downstream suppliers. To wrap up our series, we’ve rounded up the key lessons from interviews with experts and practitioners that discussed the ins and outs of business compliance. 

Business Registration 

Business registration is the process of formalizing your business – it starts with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) and is the first step in business compliance. Business owners must decide whether they will register as a sole proprietorship – a business consisting of a single person – or as a company – a business with multiple members that may protect owners from the company’s legal liabilities. A sole proprietorship typically requires submission of an online form as well as payment of a one-time 24,000 UGX registration fee. Companies require greater administrative paperwork and must pay an incorporation fee based on the starting capital used for the business. They must also submit annual returns forms.  

Tax Compliance 

Tax compliance refers to the fulfillment of a business’ tax obligations as outlined by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). Tax-compliant businesses need to register for a free, ten-digit Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) that allows them to fulfill their tax obligations. The TIN also allows businesses to obtain operating licenses necessary to work in a given industry. After obtaining their TIN, businesses file annual tax returns and pay any owed taxes.  Business owners can opt to pay their tax obligations annually, bi-annually, quarterly, or even monthly. While businesses can seek advice from a tax consultant, there are many URA resources available to businesses that can help guide them through their tax compliance journey. 

Human Resource Compliance 

Human Resource (HR) compliance specifically addresses the health and safety of a business’ staff while mitigating risks and hazards to health in the workplace. Businesses not prioritizing HR compliance may face serious consequences from officials such as closures or imprisonment if a staff member is harmed in the course of their job. To ensure compliance, businesses are encouraged to research requirements for their particular industry and designate someone within their organization to monitor compliance practices. Usually, these compliance guidelines can be obtained from regulatory bodies such as the Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE) or local licensing bodies such as the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA). 

Third-Party Compliance 

Third-party compliance deals with agreements in third-party contracts to ensure that the parties involved adhere to its rules, or in the event that they do not, are held liable. To start, businesses should be formally registered to ensure that all parties are governed by the rules and regulations applicable within their particular industry. Businesses entering into a third-party contract should be on the lookout for potential risks such as inflexibility in contracts, which may not take into account unexpected business interruptions, or unsuitable contract conditions transposed from other contexts such as copying western-styled contracts which do not account for the nuances of the Ugandan business environment. To limit risk in third-party contracts, businesses should carefully review contract terms of reference, payment structures, timelines, and arbitration methods. 

Investment Compliance 

Investment compliance addresses businesses’ need for investment to grow and expand operations. Larger companies and partners looking to invest in smaller businesses generally seek companies brandishing a risk-mitigation strategy. This usually begins with basic business compliance steps such as registering their business, obtaining a TIN, and having the appropriate licenses to operate within their industry sector. To help businesses better understand investment compliance obligations, the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) provides resources such as their One-Stop Center which places all the regulatory agencies and authorities under a single roof.  

In closing, businesses seeking new growth, investment, and partnership opportunities should determine what compliance areas need attention and address those needs. For a better understanding of the individual compliance areas, readers should visit our corresponding articles for an in-depth read. Stay tuned for our next series to help navigate Uganda’s intricate business environment. 

A Year in Review

The COVID-19 Business Info Hub has tackled a number of topics this past year aimed at supporting you as an SME. We have featured articles with insights from public sector experts, business owners and entrepreneurs, and industry stakeholders from across sectors to help you grow your business despite challenging times. Below are some of the articles from the past year that entrepreneurs and business owners found most insightful. Stay tuned – there’s plenty more to come in 2022!

Voices of Young Entrepreneurs

Transforming innovative ideas of the youth into viable business ventures – Diana Ntamu, Director MUBS Centre.

Voices from the Oil and Gas Sector

Stanbic Business Incubator Chief Executive gives an overview of the opportunities for SMEs in the Oil and Gas Value Chain in Uganda

Voices of the Agribusiness Sector

Learn how Stanbic Bank Uganda’s One Farm Platform promotes business linkages within the agribusiness sector

Growing Your Skills

Learn from Lilian Katiso, Proprietor of Maua and More, on the strategies she implemented to ensure business continuity during crisis

Thinking of starting a business or growing your startup but unsure of where to start? Develop a Business Model Canvas

Do you have a tech initiative that drives civic participation? Apply for Round I of the Africa Union Civic Tech Fund by 16 January 2022!

The African Union Civic Tech Fund is a pan-African competition seeks to support innovative civic initiatives that demonstrate the potential to lead to citizen-led transformative action across the African continent. Through the Fund, select initiatives will be awarded financial support ranging from EUR 10,000 to EUR 20,000 over an implementation period of six months to be focused on upscaling, adaptation, or replication of pre-existing civic tech initiatives. Support may also be channeled towards funding the deployment of civic technology in partnership with a particular citizen group or civil society that does not have the expertise to do so independently.  

In addition to financial support, the Fund will also provide technical support, including:  

  • Technical support 
    • Virtual inception/acceleration week (hosted by AfriLabs) 
    • Provision of embedded technical expertise through the engagement of civic tech specialists 
  • Thematic support 
    • Provision of thematic expertise on democracy support, African Union governance & continental policymaking 
  • Marketing, communication & showcasing support 
    • Facilitation of access to decision-makers at the African Union level as well as the international development community 
  • Peer-to-peer learning & networking  
    • Facilitation of exchange between recipients and other members of related civic tech ecosystems 

Priorities for the Fund are across relevant areas such as participation in public space and public discourse, electoral cycles and elections, rule of law and orderly transfers of power between governments, democratic culture and political pluralism, peace and security, and human, economic, and sustainable development. An example of a potential initiative would be one that may propose to leverage technology to enable citizens to have a voice on key issues within their constituencies such as by encouraging participation in digital councils.  

Interested applicants must fulfill the following to apply: 

  • Legal entity 
  • Registered in an African Union Member State 
  • Able to sign a service contract agreement (as opposed to a grant contract agreement) 
  • Not be bankrupt, in the process of being wound up, nor have its affairs administered by the courts 
  • Must not have received an adverse audit opinion from its own auditors or its donors’ auditor 
  • Must have policies in place and/or practices in place to guarantee the ethical management of personal identifiable information 

Proposals are due 16 January 2022. Preliminary award decisions will be made in February 2022, with implementation set to take place between April and September 2022.  

For more information about the Fund, visit: CIVIC TECH FUND 

To apply, visit: CIVIC TECH FUND Application 

Are you an SME that wants to engage in a third-party contract but unsure of what it takes to do it well? Apollo Muyanja Mbazzira from Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) answers key questions to help you get started

Are you an SME that wants to engage in a third-party contract but unsure of what it takes to do it well? Apollo Muyanja Mbazzira from Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) answers key questions to help you get started 

Third-party contracts (also referred to as implementing partner contracts) are agreements wherein a third business supports a contract between two distinct businesses by providing goods or services that support a common goal. These contracts are critical for the profitability of many businesses and key to the Ugandan economy. Small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) often build their businesses around serving as third-party suppliers, playing a critical and integral role in supply chains by contributing the goods and services that support lead firms’ operations.  

For instance, independent SMEs may provide contracting services to a larger manufacturing firm. Lead firms – the larger companies at the top of the supply chain – typically need these SMEs to build their supply chains or ensure that they maintain market leadership. But along with important benefits both for lead firms and implementing partners, engaging in third-party contracts comes with unique risks. Fortunately, those risks can be managed by best practices around third-party compliance.  

The COVID-19 Business Info Hub sat down with Apollo Muyanja Mbazzira, a project director with Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) to understand more about the topic. PSFU recently partnered with Mastercard Foundation to design and implement the Lead Firm Structure for Youth Employment in Uganda program. Operating as an implementing partner for Mastercard Foundation has given PSFU first-hand expertise on the importance and benefits of third-party compliance. 

What is third-party compliance? 

Before diving into the ins and outs of third-party compliance, Apollo defines what it means – essentially, it means that the parties in a supply contract adhere to the rules of that contract and are held liable in the case that they do not.  

As a key first step, SMEs engaged by lead firms in an implementing partner contract typically need to be business compliant – registered with a TIN and up to date with all tax obligations. This ensures that the businesses involved in the implementing partner contract are all governed by rules and regulations that apply to the sector they are operating in and can be held legally liable in the case that they do not fulfill a particular obligation.  

What are the risks around engaging in third-party contracts? 

Contract inflexibility is a major risk that comes with third-party contracts. With more parties involved than in a simpler two-party contract, delays in deliverables or changes to activities may be more likely and have broader effects. If the contract is not structured in such a way as to allow for some contingency or for a method of modifying activities based on challenges or changes that come up, these delays or changes can cause issues with the ability of some parties to meet obligations or receive payments.  

Apollo also explains that some contract structures employed in Uganda have been borrowed from Western contexts. These contracts are modeled on a business structure and relationship that does not consider the nuances of Uganda’s business environment. This creates a risk to SMEs who may enter a contract that disadvantages them in their relationship as an implementing party. A typical example is that large manufacturers in Uganda are surrounded by companies that may prefer to acquire goods and services from informal service providers, which are considered much cheaper in comparison with formally run businesses. A third party contract written in Western contexts may restrict hiring to only formal service providers – and therefore put the contractor at risk of breach of contract for hiring informally. It is important to look for these kinds of nuances when reviewing a contract and ensure that the terms match.  

Are there best practices that help to mitigate those risks? 

The main tool that businesses have in mitigating the risks that come along with implementing third-party contracts is to ensure that obligations are spelled out clearly in the contract itself. In particular, businesses should pay attention to the following:  

  • Terms of reference – Are the obligations and activities required by all parties spelled out clearly? Is it obvious which party is responsible for what? 
  • Payment structure – Are the deliverables due to trigger payments from one party to another clear? Is there a timeline in place for invoice due dates and payment turnaround times? 
  • Timeline – Are there deadlines for obligations and activities in place? Is there a contingency plan or method for managing delays? 
  • Arbitration methods – While no business wants to think about what might happen if they or a partner business violates the terms of an implementing partner contract, it is sometimes unavoidable. In this case, is it clear what the method of arbitration will be?  

Ensuring these basic aspects of an implementing partner contract are in order safeguards businesses from major risks while allowing them to grow their business and network. Businesses are encouraged to engage their third-party counterparts to ensure their partnerships are mutually fair and beneficial.

Compassionate Leadership for Entrepreneurs Series: Leading with Heart

ConsumerCentriX, in partnership with Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited (Stanbic Bank), kicked off the first webinar in its Compassionate Leadership for Entrepreneurs Series on November 4th, 2021, under the theme “Leading with Heart: Adapting to a New Normal in a Tough Business Environment.” The webinar explored how the bank and other key businesses in the market adapted to the current business climate given the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of using compassionate leadership as a business strategy.

The webinar was moderated by Maurice Mugisha, a Ugandan journalist and Managing Director of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation, and the panel included Emma Mugisha, Executive Director and Head of Business Banking at Stanbic Bank, Dr. Peter Kimbowa, Chairman of the Board of Directors at the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Thadeus Musoke Nagenda, Ag. Chairman of Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA), and Isaac Nsereko, Managing Director of RI Distributors Ltd.

Leading with compassion in a crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda has led to waves of lockdowns and business closures, making it impossible for businesses to continue day-to-day operations as usual. The disruptions have heavily affected decision-making, employee management, and the bottom line for businesses. All of the panelists agreed that leading with compassion during these extraordinary times has been essential. For them, this has meant listening to their employees and the concerns of their customer base, challenging the assumptions behind their convictions, and being ready to adapt to a constantly changing environment.

In the case of Stanbic Bank, leaders needed to adapt quickly to the crisis. When public transportation shut down, they had to find ways to transport their staff to branches. The bank had to adjust working hours to better fit customer and employee needs and implement changes so staff could work from home comfortably.  For branch staff who may have been exposed to the virus, the bank created isolation centers to help employees protect their family members from potential exposure.  As the pandemic dragged on, Emma Mugisha explained that Stanbic Bank has started to see an increase in customers defaulting on their loan payments. The bank has “put in place repayment extensions to relieve the customers who were affected by the pandemic,” said Mrs. Mugisha. Compassionate leadership teaches leaders to be empathetic and understand the challenges faced by their community. Loan repayment extensions not only benefit the bank’s customers, but also help the bank avoid mass default.

Dr. Kimbowa highlighted that at NSSF, the largest social security fund in Uganda, it was key to have a store of reserves, respond quickly to customer needs, and preserve the company’s workforce. NSSF launched a leadership ‘Think Box’ in order to tackle the biggest challenges, particularly how to avoid layoffs and keep employees fulfilled while working from home. Dr. Kimbowa is proud of the results of these efforts – NSFF largely retained its staff and reminds others that “firing people during hard times is in itself an admission of failed imagination [for leadership].”

RI Distributors, one of the largest logistics trading companies in Uganda, has had to make significant changes to its supply chains as a result of the pandemic. Mr. Nsereko explained that a key priority for the business was keeping its drivers healthy, happy, and employed. First, RI Distributors divested long-term projects and focused on ramping up COVID-19 testing stations for their drivers. The business also hired more drivers so to ensure adherence to safer social distancing policies through a more flexible driver rotation schedule. Mr. Nsereko said; “I think it’s compassionate leadership that knows the business will [have the opportunity to focus on making] money in the future and chooses to look after their people now, in a sustainable way, in order to stay in business.”

KACITA is the largest trader block in Kampala, and during the lockdowns most of the arcades, shopping malls, its businesses operate out of were closed. “When COVID hit, many of the members of the business community started selling their goods out of the back of their cars,” said Mr. Nagenda. KACITA has provided supplies, food, and funding for business owners, but more importantly, asked for a moratorium on rent for business owners. They also approached the government and advocated for reopening of arcades so that its business owners could continue doing business and making a living. KACITA focused on alleviating the monetary stresses that its small business owners faced. KACITA was successful in negotiations with some landlords, who eventually allowed traders to defer rent payments.

Lessons learned

To close out the webinar, panelists were asked to share lessons learned through their use of compassionate leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. A few key themes emerged from the discussion:

  • Work together. As business leaders, it’s important to share best practices and ask others to join in utilizing compassionate leadership. If more business leaders share their knowledge on how to listen to employees and customers, challenge assumptions, and adapt quickly in a changing environment like adjusting work hours to better fit customer needs or creating a “Think Box” for leaders to tackle the biggest challenges, then institutions will improve, and the economy will be strengthened. It’s essential to work together to solve challenges and find sustainable solutions. In the case of KACITA, Mr. Nagenda said that “most of the [arcade] landlords are also traders and part of KACITA. We realized as the business community that we can work together to find solutions.”
  • Adapting to change is imperative. Leaders should approach challenges as opportunities to shift their ways of working. The pandemic forced many sectors to embrace change through digitization, whether that included investing in ways for their staff to work from home or making loans available to more customers through mobile banking. Mrs. Mugisha mentioned that “it should be normal to have your video on and hold your baby,” stressing the importance of embracing flexible work structures for parents. Focusing on the mission of the business instead of the structure allows businesses to adapt to a new normal.
  • Trust is essential. The most valuable component of an institution is its people. A leader must build and maintain trust with employees in order to make compassionate leadership sustainable. When suppliers cut off credit lines, RI Distributors focused on preserving the business through adapting their supply chain lines and establishing trust with their truck drivers by launching a number of key safety measures – which helped retain our drivers to stay on track and mitigate business loss. Businesses that build trust with their employees, customer base, and suppliers are resilient.
  • Continue to Innovate. As institutions and leaders’ transition, adjust and recover from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to remain curious and willing to adapt to new business innovative solutions. Continued disruption can make it really difficult to make a concrete plan for the future, but it can lead a company to develop better practices. Continue to assess your beliefs and processes and make sure not to revert back to ineffective ways of working.

Compassionate leadership is essential in building resilient companies that survive in the face of adversity. The health and wellbeing of employees and clients should continue to be a priority for leaders in order to build a stronger and brighter future. Join Stanbic Bank for the next installment of the series that is expected to return in the first quarter of 2021.


Trouble understanding tax compliance and want to know where to start? David Rusoke and the Ugandan Revenue Authority are here to answer your pressing questions

Understanding tax compliance

When it comes to tax compliance, businesses should acquaint themselves with the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), an organization created by the Constitution of Uganda to collect taxes on behalf of government and consolidate those funds so the government can fulfill its mandate each year. The COVID-19 Business Info Hub sat down with David Rusoke, a team lead for tax literacy in the domestic tax department at URA, who works to “enlighten people on tax matters, their tax obligations and information that will enable them make informed decisions about the subject.” David helped us understand the ins-and-outs of tax compliance and how businesses can navigate Uganda’s tax compliance framework.

In simple terms, tax compliance is making sure that a business fulfills its tax obligations as outlined by the URA, which administers laws such as the Income Tax Act and the Value Added Tax Act, among others. The URA is responsible for collecting taxes stipulated under these laws – including the Value-Added Tax (VAT) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Employment Tax; both of which are critical to the operation of tax compliant businesses.

Fulfilling tax obligations starts with obtaining a TIN

To fulfill tax obligations, businesses start by obtaining a free, ten-digit Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), which is used to account for a business’ obligations as well as for other purposes such as obtaining an operating license. Once a business acquires a TIN, it is required to file annual tax returns and pay any taxes arising. Businesses become fully tax compliant once they pay any obligations after filing annual, bi-annual, quarterly, or monthly returns.

Businesses without a TIN may find their opportunities limited when it comes to partnering with other firms. Wherever you stand on the supply-line of the value chain, major players will require you to have a TIN so that they can fulfill their own tax compliance requirements. Ugandan law limits a business’ purchasing from businesses without TINs to 5M UGX. Purchasing any more than that creates a risk for larger businesses maintaining their own compliance. If a business is looking to work with the government, for instance, they’ll need to obtain a Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) to be eligible to engage with any government agencies. government agencies.

Next, it is important to understand the rights and obligations that apply to your specific business with regards to fulfilling tax obligations. While these are outlined in Uganda’s taxpayer charter, there are many details and nuances that exist. For instance, many goods are taxed at higher tax rates to discourage their consumption and can impose larger tax burdens on a business.

Where to turn for help

It’s important for business owners to ask the right questions about their tax obligations and understand how to navigate the system, and there are a few options if business owners need somewhere to turn for help.

David explains that the URA is ready and able to help business owners through various advisory services including training and information made available in person, via radio, through webinars,  toll free lines and a Whatsapp Chat, and even on YouTube. Business owners can also access the URA’s web portal at ura.go.ug to download PDF forms to fulfill requirements as well as a library of information that can help answer any questions.

Business owners can also consider hiring a tax consultant, but David highlights that it is important to ensure the consultant is URA-designated, as any liability for a faulty return will fall directly on the business owner. He also suggests that business owners learn to understand their tax obligations for themselves because they will benefit from having greater ownership of their compliance obligations. Keeping on top of your tax obligations requires careful bookkeeping, so business owners who do so are more often in tune with their business records and sales performance.

Business owners are encouraged to contact the URA directly with specific questions for which training or support are made available online via the URA’s site. Callers can access a toll-free line at 0800117000 or 0800217000 that is available until 11 pm for help. Alternatively, questions can be submitted through email at services@ura.go.ug. For those who prefer an in-person experience, the URA’s service centers are open for business owners to visit their offices.

Want an insider perspective on the importance of business compliance? Joel Bamwise of the Stanbic Business Incubator Limited walks us through the most critical aspects

Joel Bamwise, Program Manager at Stanbic Business Incubator Limited (SBIL)– a subsidiary of Stanbic Uganda Holding Limited that works to support SMEs in Uganda through training and mentoring programs –  explains that business compliance is the “art of following the laws, regulations and existing laws and regulations of a country” that govern business activities. Beyond that, business compliance also refers to “ethical practices that a normal business should be able to carry out,” such as safety compliance to protect a business’ employees.

While the business compliance process may seem daunting, Joel explains that there are some clear benefits to taking on the task. Most important comes when scaling up as a value chain supplier because any single entity requesting a business’ services will require they be in good standing with the governing authority under which they operate, says Joel.

As a business owner bids for new opportunities, they’ll be required to have a tax clearance certificate (click here for more information on this document). More importantly, being business compliant can help win the loyalty of a business’ staff by providing them with government-supported benefits such as For instance, employees of compliant businesses may obtain national social security fund (NSSF) clearance, which makes them eligible for retirement benefits and can, in turn make them, more loyal to their employer.

Remaining fully compliant allows business owners to easily track the growth of their business through a better picture of their incoming and outgoing revenues. Tracking incoming and outgoing revenues simplifies the planning process – which ultimately supports the business’ expansion.

Joel breaks down the compliance process into three clear steps. First, a business must be registered with the appropriate authority. Depending on the type of business being registered, this can be done through the Uganda Registration Services Bureau, the Uganda Co-operative Alliance or any local regulator that oversees business registrations. Next, the business must obtain any licenses necessary to operate within their given industry. This is largely dependent on your local business district. The Central Business District of Kampala, for instance, is overseen by the Kampala Capital City Authority, which issues trading licenses that permit business transactions. Lastly, the business must pay its respective taxes and dues by acquiring a tax identification number.

SBIL has been successful in guiding a variety of businesses to fulfill their compliance obligations and unlock many of these benefits. For starters, SBIL provides businesses with lessons, coaching, and mentoring to guide them through the compliance process. Businesses are provided with various masterclasses to help them develop a growth plan that takes advantage of the opportunities available for compliant businesses. Similarly, they have brought in industry regulators to provide real-world advice from industry officials on the best approach to improve their compliance. Incubator businesses will hear from URSB and URA officials while getting the opportunity to ask as many questions as they need to best understand the information from these regulatory bodies. These sessions are critical for dispelling any uncertainty and give businesses the confidence to succeed in their respective industries.

Businesses in need of support can choose from a series of different programs provided by SBIL such as the Kampala Enterprise Development Program,Network For Innovation and Sustainability in Agriculture and Tourism and the Regional Enterprise Development Program. To help in their development, businesses hear from regulatory leadership and receive the tools they require for them to register and have the compliance checks in place. In addition, participants will engage with partnered legal firms who provide expertise in enabling businesses to make the right decisions about their compliance needs.

Interested in registering your business but unsure of where to start? Provia Nangobi of the Uganda Registration Services Bureaus explains the business registration process 

Continuing our focus on the importance of business compliance, the COVID-19 Business Info Hub sat down with Provia Nangobi, Head of Public Relations and Corporate Affairs at Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), to understand the first step in keeping your business compliant – business registration. We asked Provia to walk us through the process for different types of businesses operating in the country and shed some light on where business owners can go for support.

Provia explained that the URSB is the government agency responsible for registering businesses and intellectual property rights such as trademarks, copyrights, and patents. In Uganda, a business can be registered either as a sole proprietorship under a business name, a company limited with shares or a company by guarantee akin to a not-for-profit organization. The difference is based mainly on the structure and the number of members of a business. Provia explained more about each of these options.

Sole proprietorships consist of a single person who wants to do business under a legal entity. These businesses are typically smaller in nature and consist of individuals seeking to trade and operate alone while expanding their businesses through credit, investment, and partnership opportunities that formalization affords them. To register a sole proprietorship with the URSB and receive a business certificate, business owners must submit an online form and pay a one-time registration fee of 24,000 UGX. Once those compliance requirements have been fulfilled, businesses are free to begin trading as officially recognized entities.

Registering a company – a process called ‘incorporation’ – is slightly more complex than registering as a sole proprietorship. Compared to sole proprietorships, companies have many more types, structures, and responsibilities, but they stand as distinct legal entities separate from their owners, which protects owners from the company’s legal liabilities. While companies are typically structured to involve multiple people, they can also be structured as ‘single-member” companies for people working independently. The most common companies registered by URSB, according to Provia, are private companies with shares distributed amongst multiple owners. Business owners can also register either a public company that sells stock and part of their shares to the public, unlimited companies, foreign companies or a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.

Regardless of what type of company business owners register, there are more obligations to ensure full compliance when compared to registering as a sole proprietor. For instance, companies must indicate the total amount of starting capital, which is then used to determine the company’s incorporation fees. Fixed costs associated with incorporation include a 20,000 UGX name reservation and 40,000 UGX to submit two forms. Variable costs include the registration fee – totaling 1% of share capital – and the stamp duty – which has a cost of 0.5% of share capital, as well as a 135,000 UGX fixed fee. Once the incorporation fees are paid, a certificate of incorporation is issued as part of the initial filing process. At this point, companies must submit forms listing the names of their directors and secretary and their business location and provide a memorandum and article of associations outlining the company’s interests. After the registration is finalized and a certificate of incorporation is issued, the company goes into business.

For a company limited with shares, annual returns must be submitted every year to declare the status of operations along with a 50,000 UGX fee (30,000 UGX for companies limited by guarantee). Any changes to the company’s structure or directors must be declared on the form to keep the business registration up to date.

There are enormous benefits of formalizing businesses ranging from: 

  1. Enabling investors to invest in your business through official channels
  2. Supporting your participation in the bidding process for the provision of goods and services
  3. Better access to financial services (i.e., bank loans that are essential for business expansion)
  4. Enabling the company to enter into business partnerships and joint ventures more easily or to carry out mergers and takeovers
  5. Supporting business reputation, which leads to broader clientele and greater opportunities

URSB’s services don’t end at business registration – they also provide services for businesses in need of support. On the occasion that a business enters an insolvency and receivership function – which happens when a company is unable to meet its financial obligations and potentially enters a court-mandated process allowing creditors to recover funds from a business while allowing them to avoid bankruptcy.  The URSB provides services to help businesses strengthen their operations and attempt to revive the company. Suppose a company is unable to recover from its financial woes. In that case, the URSB also provides statutory procedures to shut down the business and the necessary steps to wind up its operations.

When asked why some businesses shy away from formal compliance, Provia suggested that misinformation stops people from registering. People are often confused about the costs, processes, or obligations required to fulfil standard compliance requirements. Some may think that it takes a long time, but it takes just 2 to 3 days for a certificate to be issued once all documents are submitted. Provia highlighted that consulting with business professionals such as business lawyers can help clarify any misconceptions while helping business owners build and develop their operations. More importantly, business owners can query the URSB directly by either a toll-free phone number (0 800 100 006), the official website (www.ursb.go.ug), or through the official WhatsApp number (0712 448448).

Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited and ConsumerCentriX to Launch Compassionate Leadership Series on 4th November 2021

Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited and ConsumerCentriX to Launch Compassionate Leadership Series on 4th November 2021

In partnership with ConsumerCentriX, Stanbic Bank is pleased to have the opportunity to introduce the Compassionate Leadership Public Engagement Series.

The Series will consist of three webinars featuring compassionate leaders and technical persons in our community, that will help us understand how they have effectively led their organizations and provide practical tools in overcoming the challenges brought by the pandemic.

The inaugural conversation, Leading with Heart – “adapting to a new normal in a tough business environment”, will be launched on 4th November 2021 at 2 pm and will be moderated by Maurice Mugisha, with Anne Juuko, Stanbic Bank CE, Dr Peter Kimbowa, Chairman Board of Directors NSSF, Thadeus Musoke Nagenda, Ag. Chairman KACITA, and Isaac Nsereko, Managing Director RI Distributors as panellists.

Don’t miss the opportunity to participate!

To register for the webinar, visit: Webinar Registration

How to network your way to building a robust business

If you want to build a robust business, it is important to get out there, make connections, and network with others. Business networking involves connecting with potential customers and other individuals who might refer business to you. It also means making contact with people who can provide key information that can help you grow your business and is based on creating trusting relationships with other businesspeople.

Networking helps you promote your business and can lead to new opportunities, both very important as business owners seek to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. Of course, with the disruptions caused by the pandemic, which have meant fewer chances to meet others in person, there has been a shift to networking virtually, which can actually offer you more opportunities to build connections across borders.

Below are some key reasons why networking is important for your small business and tips on how to network well to achieve your business goals.


  1. Networking is a great way to acquire new business leads. Leveraging the contacts you make when you meet people can open doors for business opportunities. Always communicate professionally when you follow up on leads, be sensitive to timing (for example, send that email when you promised to), and use common courtesy when following up.


  1. Networking can help you to identify business best practices. Learning from what others do is a valuable strategy for all businesses. For example, suppose you own a wholesale store and belong to an association. Ask around to find programs that other members use for stock management or other critical operational tasks that you can bring back to your own business.


  1. Regular networking will help you build confidence. It will help you become more familiar with talking to people you don’t know over time, enhancing your communications skills and enabling you to make lasting connections that can bring both positive professional and personal results.


  1. Networking is a great way to make relevant connections. It will enable you to meet and engage with highly influential people you wouldn’t otherwise be able to talk to or find easily. You can call on these new connections for assistance when you need them. So be sure to ask the right questions to find out if the person you are networking with knows who you want to know.

Don’t wait until you have run out of opportunities to start networking. Be sure to start making these connections to expand the number of opportunities that come your way!