psfuThe Private Sector Foundation Uganda is set to unveil a web portal that will allow the business community to discuss problems they face when applying for licences.

The ministry of Finance and the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) will jointly manage the portal. The initiative is part of the process of restructuring business licensing, following findings in March 2012 by the Business Licensing Committee, which was set up by Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka.

“In essence, the private sector will act as evaluators of the reform process, and we hope that later on, they will be able to give feedback on other topics, such as proposed new business regulations or legislation,” the statement quoted PSFU Policy Analyst Moses Ogwal as saying.

The findings identified about 780 licenses across all sectors with barriers that cost the private sector about Shs 726bn. The committee proposed the elimination of 47 licences, simplification of 305, reclassification of seven, amalgamation of 13 into six, and the retaining of 408 licensings across various sectors.

Another e-portal, to be hosted by Uganda Registration Services Bureau, has also been set up. The platform will enable Ugandan businesses to access detailed information on relevant business licenses and permits, including requirements, costs, and application forms so as to reduce the time and cost spent in complying with the various licensing procedures.

The portal is expected to be improved to cater for transactions involved when businesses register and apply for various licences. The adoption of these services is expected to lead to a 25 per cent reduction in licensing costs while the elimination of the 47 licences would enable businesses incur savings of Shs 66.8bn, according to the press statement.

The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank group, in partnership with the Private Sector Foundation is supporting the Uganda government to implement proposed business reforms that will promote small and medium enterprise development and growth.

Update: Private Sector Foundation informs us that this portal has NOT yet been launched, but arrangements are being harmonized to have it launched.

Information from The Observer was used in this report.