The Indian Association Uganda

Contribution of Indians to Uganda’s economy

The contribution of Indians to the economy of Uganda has been and will continue to be significant and one of the main drivers of economy growth of this country. After being welcomed back to the country and the successful repossession exercise of the confiscated properties, Indians and persons of Indian origin, have entered the Ugandan economy with the same zeal and vigor for which they are well known all over the world. They are spread over various sectors of the economy – agriculture, pharmaceuticals, construction, energy, finance, printing, IT, education, hospitality and many others. Today the population of Indians and persons of Indian origin is approximately 30,000 and fast increasing.

We have willingly accepted the government’s invitation to return and have made a remarkable and significant contribution to the growth. We are one of the largest contributors to the economy of Uganda in terms of contribution to the exchequer, investments, employment generation, social responsibility etc. More than 70% of the top taxpayers of the country are businesses owned or managed by Asians, contributing in excess of 65% of the domestic revenue. At a rough guess, more than a million indigenous Ugandans are employed by Asian owned/managed businesses. We are also willing, should it be deemed appropriate, to be involved in assisting the development of the enabling policy framework as we can positively contribute in this respect based on the experience gained during the transformation and development period of India.

Besides our contribution to the economy, we have also been at the forefront of contribution towards social well-being of the community at large. We own and manage schools under the UPE program. In fact, although we have taken possession of some of our schools, in many schools we have not replaced the management but continue to act in an advisory capacity to the management and provide financial assistance helping them to become self sufficient. We are involved in aiding hospitals and in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We are also contributing towards provision of safe and clean drinking water. Our contribution to the development of sports in the country is well known. Our businessmen and some of us in politics are playing an important part in the development of Uganda. We have always been the forefront of delivering assistance during times of natural calamity and are significantly contributing in the health sector as well.

We have played a very important and significant role in the economic, political and diplomatic life of Uganda. During the visit of the former Minister of Internal Affairs Hon. Ruhakama Rugunda to India in 2007, he said:

“Indian investments in Uganda are playing a critical role in accelerating the development of our country. Ugandan Indians are very active in hotel, hospitality industry – the top five hoteliers are of Indian and Asian origin. In the banking sector there is a lot of dynamism injected in the by the Ugandans of Asian origin. In politics [and] in the diplomatic side we had [many people]. So Ugandans of Indian origin have played a very important role in economic, political and diplomatic roles”

He said that agro business and agro processing were important sectors for investment cooperation. “The hospitality industry, financial sector, manufacturing, textile industry … Uganda produces a lot of beautiful cotton and we would like to [venture into] clothes and garments so that we can exploit the markets abroad”, he said. “ We would like to see more and more pharmaceutical companies coming and the Indian entrepreneurs have a lot of experience in that, so therefore they are vey welcome”.

MURTUZAALI DALAL
May 18, 2012

(The economic data of Uganda has been extracted from www,economywatch.com/world_economy/Uganda)

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