The vital work of improving business registrations and reducing informality by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) has been commended by Norbert Mao, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

The Minister made the remarks yesterday during the visit of the Board of Directors and management teams to brief the Minister on the URSB’s strategic plans, key achievements, updated and reformed laws and plans for the coming. The delegation was led by Chairman of the Board, Ambassador Francis Butagira and Registrar General, Mercy K. Kainobwisho.

The latest statistics show that 34,044 new businesses and 53,180 trade names were registered between December 2020 and September 2022, along with 98,541 legal documents and 41,536 certifications. 3,311 local trademark applications were registered, while 2,752 civil marriages were registered among other key registrations.

Addressing the URSB team, the Hon. Norbert Mao said he was impressed with the progress of the URSB in supporting the formalization of the economy through reliable registration services. “I applaud the URSB for improving the business environment, making Uganda an attractive business destination and a catalyst for investment. I am aware that you have facilitated the procedures and access to registration services,” added the Minister.

He added that the contribution of URSB on the reforms and amendments made in accordance with the anti-money laundering laws which were passed by Parliament and approved by His Excellency the President had saved the country from being blacklisted. He noted that with the full implementation of the ongoing laws, businesses will benefit from improved registration services which will also facilitate the entry and exit of businesses due to the business environment created.

In turn, Ambassador Francis Butagira, Chairman of the Board of Directors, pointed out that the URSB had adopted a futuristic strategic plan that prioritized innovation and creativity in the delivery of services that would maintain the vision to be the center of excellence for registration services. He noted that administrative ambition today is based on delivering government services that meet aspirations and remain in line with the government’s vision on improving public sector services.

“Our priority is to pursue initiatives through multifaceted engagements to ensure we stay on track to increase formalization, improve competitiveness through the protection of intellectual property rights, stabilize family unions with easy marriage registrations while managing entity restructuring by offering fast insolvency services. Our Movable Property Registry has also been positioned to increase the use of movable property as collateral for borrowing,” Ambassador Butagira told the Minister.

The Registrar General briefed the Minister on key accomplishments of the URSB, including growth in Non-Tax Revenue (NTR), decentralization of services, and building outreach to create awareness. The URSB recorded the highest NTR collection ever in a financial year, in 2021/2022, collecting 57.04 billion UGX, posting a surplus of 11.47 billion and growth of 40.8%. “From December 2020 to September 2022, the URSB mobilized a total NTR of 87.42 billion Ugx against a target of 81.68 billion Ugx, posting a surplus of Ugx. 5.74 billion”. Our all-digital, all-online strategy has improved service quality standards, strengthened service delivery and increased access to registration services. Kainobwisho said.

The URSB continues to make a commendable contribution to facilitating private and public sector development by improving simpler, faster and faster registration services. Formalizing the economy is key to increasing the tax base and supporting innovation while creating jobs.