|Business Etiquette Tips||Embassy Locations and Registration|
|Employment-Legal Requirements||Entry and Exit Requirements|
|Intellectual Property||Legal and Registration of a Business Entity|
|Safety and Crime||Taxes|
Bordered on all sides by other African nations, Uganda is a landlocked country that nevertheless earned the nickname the "Pearl of Africa" bestowed by Winston Churchill in 1907. Uganda is home to what is arguably the second-largest river in the world, and it is the originating source of the Nile River. Having left behind its history of a brutal country once under the regime of the late Idi Amin, the country has the potential of becoming a foremost travel destination and economically independent nation in its own right. Unfortunately, "chronic political instability and persistent economic decline" has rendered Uganda one of the "world's poorest and least-developed countries."
Political unrest may exist despite attempts to improve conditions for tourists. Travelers are encouraged to check the U.S. State Department Web site for current updates of travel safety to Uganda.
|Major Cities||Capital: Kampala.
Major cities: Jinja, Gulu, Mbale, and Mbarara.
|Official Currency||Uganda shilling (UGX).|
|Time Zone||UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, D.C. during Standard Time).
|Language||English (official); Swahili, Luganda, and other Bantu and Nilotic languages.|
Legal System and Government
Type of legal system: In 1995, the government restored the legal system to one based on English common law and customary law. It accepts compulsory International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisdiction, with reservations.
Form of Government
Credit reporting is still in its infancy in Uganda and, even with due diligence, may be difficult to perform. Individuals doing business are advised to collect as much of the price in cash as possible and to collateralize any loans.
Available Banking Services
Credit card services
Banking in English
New Year's Day
NRM Liberation Day
Uganda Martyr's Day
National Heroes' Day
Public holiday (Funeral of Bosoga King Henry Wako Muloki)
Idd el Fitr (end of Ramadan)
Idd-Al-Adhuha (Feast of Sacrifice)
U.S. and Other Major Banks in Country
(Note: Address and contact information subject to change.)
Plot 4 Ternan Avenue Centre
P.O. Box 7505
Phone: (256) 312 305500
Standard Chartered House
5 Speke Road
Phone: (256) 0414 258211
A conservative business suit is typical for both men and women accompanied by minimal jewelry or accessories.
Shaking hands among male colleagues is the common form of greeting. Among opposite sexes it is best to allow the woman to initiate the form of greeting, though a nod of the head is always acceptable.
It is recommended that appointments be scheduled two weeks or more in advance and reconfirmed closer to the appointed date and time.
Americans living or traveling in Uganda are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the State Department's travel registration Web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Uganda. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the embassy or consulate to contact them in case of emergency.
(Note: Address and contact information subject to change.)
Embassy of the Republic of Uganda
5911 16th Street NW,
Washington, D.C. 20011
Phone: (202) 726-7100
U.S. Embassy of Uganda
1577 Ggaba Road
Phone: (256) 414-259-791 or (256) 414-306-001
Fax: (256) 414-258-451
A typical work week for an hourly employee consists of 48 hours divided over a six-day week. Overtime is permitted up to a maximum of 56 hours per week over a maximum of a three-week period. Salaried employees may be required to work longer hours as agreed upon in their employment contract. Probationary terms can be included in a written contract, but the period of time cannot extend beyond six months unless the employee agrees to an extended term.
Employment cannot be terminated unless there is a valid reason for the termination connected with the capacity or conduct of the worker. Employees who have been terminated must receive written notice explaining the reason for termination and proper notice based upon the time guidelines detailed below:
- 6 months but less than a year: 2 weeks notice is required.
- 12 months but less than 5 years: 1-month notice is required.
- 5 years but less than 10 years: 2-months notice is required.
- In cases of employment lasting 10 years or more: 3-months notice is required.
Failure to provide such notice will result in an employer paying a minimum of four week's salary to the employee that may be increased upon the discretion of the labor officer. Redundancies of more than 10 employees at one time require notice to be supplied to employees a minimum of four weeks in advance as well as notice to the Labor Office and the main representative of any labor union connected with the company.
Legally Mandated Benefits and Leave
|Annual Leave||12 days (seven days every four months) at 100 percent pay|
|Maternity Leave||60 days at 100 percent pay|
|Paternity Leave||4 days at 100 percent pay|
|Sick Leave||One-month's leave-maximum with medical proof.
Sick leave lasting more than one month entitles an employer to terminate the employee's contract of service.
*Employees that work on public holidays are entitled to double pay.
A passport with six months validity, a visa, and evidence of yellow fever vaccination are required for entry into Uganda. Visas can be obtained at Entebbe Airport (the principal airport in Uganda) upon arrival, but some airline companies require travelers to have a visa before boarding. If travelling on business, a letter of introduction or invitation should also be included with the application form and other requirements (passport photos, fees, etc.)
In general, individuals travelling for pleasure or a short term are given a one-month visa that can be renewed while in the country to a maximum of six months. Individuals classified as expatriates will be issued entry permits with a validity ranging from one to three years depending on the circumstances of the work. A special pass is issued to an investor when their visa expires. Further information and application forms can be obtained from the Ugandan Embassy.
Uganda is a member of the International Convention, World Trade Organization (WTO), Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), and African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO). Uganda is improving protection of intellectual property rights, particularly in regard to the Uganda Revenue Authority seizing counterfeit goods. New legislation is underway that is intended to improve intellectual property protection and strengthen the penalties for traffickers of counterfeit goods throughout the country.
For more detailed intellectual property guidelines and information, contact Uganda's Industrial Property Office by mail or phone:
Administration - Industrial Property Office
Registrar General's Department
Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
12th Floor, Uganda House
Plot No.10 Kampala Road
P.O. Box 6848
Phone: (256 41) 23 32 19
Fax: (256 41) 25 48 29
Nature of Rights and Available Protection
Patents are protected for an initial period of 15 years, with a possible five-year extension provided the request is made at least one month before expiration of the original term. Maintenance fees are due on an annual basis following the first anniversary.
Ugandan laws provide similar protections for copyright and trademark holders. Trademarks are protected for an initial period of seven years, with the ability to renew if for an additional 14 years.
Uganda has laws on the books that afford general protection of intellectual property. But the laws are outdated and rarely serve as a deterrent to counterfeiters and pirates. After a slow start, the Ugandan customs, police, and prosecutors have initiated criminal proceedings against the recipients of some shipments of illegal goods. Enforcement remains haphazard, however, and rights holders must push Ugandan police and courts to enforce current statutes. The Uganda National Bureau of Standards is also taking an active role in protecting the health and safety of Ugandan consumers by confiscating and destroying counterfeit products.
Information about registering a nongovernmental organization (NGO) can be obtained from the Ugandan NGO Board within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In short, an NGO wishing to operate in Uganda will do so as a branch office, and it should be prepared to present letters of recommendation from the U.S. government, the nearest Ugandan embassy where the home office is located, resumes of all workers that will be residents in Uganda, a complete plan of action stating the NGO's purpose, and a budget and finance plan.
For establishing a private limited company in Uganda, the World Bank lists a minimum of 15 individual steps to be completed over approximately 33 days. Initial steps include registering the company name with the Office of the Registrar, paying fees at the bank, obtaining five separate registration forms and three tax forms from the Uganda Bookshop, applying for appropriate licenses, paying necessary fees, and filing the proper form with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
Visit the World Bank's Web site to obtain a complete detailed listing of the necessary procedures, time frame, and fees involved in establishing a legal presence in Uganda.
(Source: The World Bank, Doing Business - Uganda)
Below are additional resources to assist in establishing an office.
- Ministry of Finance-Planning and Economic Development
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Ministry of Internal Affairs
- Uganda Investment Authority
American citizens are urged to avoid demonstration areas when possible and to exercise caution if in the vicinity of a demonstration. American citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Women traveling alone are particularly susceptible to becoming crime victims. There has been an increase in the number of sexual assaults reported in addition to the more common crimes of pickpocketing, purse-snatching, and thefts from hotels and parked vehicles found in large cities.
The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad."
The tax year runs from July 1st through June 30th in Uganda for both companies and individuals, though companies are permitted flexibility in selecting their formal fiscal tax year. Currently there is no double taxation agreement between Uganda and the United States. A tax credit, however, may be available in instances where income has been taxed both in Uganda and the home country, if a similar tax is due in Uganda. Consultation with a tax professional is recommended.
Income tax is charged annually on all income that accrued in or was derived from Uganda whether the individual receiving it is a resident or nonresident. If a business is carried on by a resident person partly within and partly outside Uganda the profit of that business will be deemed to have accrued in or derived from Uganda.
Individual and Employee Taxation
All employees are required to voluntarily register with Uganda Revenue Authority as a taxpayer to receive their unique tax identification number (TIN). Payments to resident professionals who are not registered for the value-added tax (VAT) are subject to withholding tax, whereas those that have registered have not.
All employees are required to pay social security taxes on all income received annually. Individuals are taxed on a progressive scale under the "pay as you earn" system (PAYE) in Uganda.
Determining Tax Residence
An individual is a resident for tax purposes if he has a permanent home in Uganda, was present in Uganda for a period of 183 days or more in the aggregate during the year, or was present in Uganda in the year of income and in each of the two preceding years of income for periods averaging more than 122 days in each year of income.
Tax is also imposed on every nonresident person deriving income under a Ugandan-source service contract. The tax is charged at a percentage of the gross amount of payment, and the person making the payment is required to withhold the relevant tax before making the payment.
Corporate and Employer Tax Obligations
Income derived in Uganda is taxed in Uganda. When a resident company derives profits from a business partly inside and partly outside of Uganda, all profits from such business are deemed to be derived from Uganda. Employers are obliged to withhold and account for income tax on all employee pay and benefits (under the PAYE system). Penalties and interest on noncompliance and late payment of taxes are extensive, and the Uganda Revenue Authority conducts regular audits and investigations of taxpayers.
Determining Tax Residency for a Business
A corporation or business entity is considered resident if it is incorporated under the laws of Uganda, has its management and control exercised in Uganda at any time during the year of income, or has the majority of its operations conducted in Uganda during the year.
A partnership is considered a resident partnership during a year of income if, at any time during that year, a partner in the partnership was deemed a resident for tax purposes.
The corporate tax rate is the same for both branches and resident corporations. Nonresident companies are taxed only on their Uganda-sourced income, whereas resident corporations are taxed on their worldwide income. Employers are also required to contribute to social security on behalf of their employees.
For more specific information on corporate and individual tax responsibilities, as well as Uganda's Value Added Tax, please visit the Worldwide-Tax Rates Web site for Uganda.
Online Resources Used for This Template:
- Bank holidays: www.bank-holidays.com
- Business etiquette: http://www.culturecrossing.net/basics_business_student.php?id=212
- Business registration and information:
- Currency converter: http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic
- General country information:
- Intellectual property protection: http://www.adamsadams.com/index.php/african-ip-law/uganda/
- Labor code: http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex_browse.country
- Tax information:
- Visa information: http://www.ugandaembassy.com/visa.html