President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has reassured Ugandans that government is in full support for growth initiated by the private sector.
Museveni said this in a speech presented by Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, the Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, at the grand opening of Mbarara’s first five-star hotel, Hotel Triangle in Mbarara Municipality.
“Government of Uganda is at the forefront to support ventures of this kind. We advocate for private sector-led growth and we have been able to offer a secure environment to enable these ventures to thrive. We wish to assure you that government support will continue to be strong to the private sector in Uganda,” Museveni said.
Museveni explained that investments such as hotels, among many benefits, provide market for local products and services, whilst boosting the tourism industry, and thus government is proud to provide a good and safe environment for them.
He commended the hotel proprietor, businessman Hajji Mutaasa Kafeero, for taking the bold step and investing in the rich region of Western Uganda.
“The decision you took was worthy. It was strategic because we have tourist attractions in the vicinity and the neighboring districts. Our tourists and the country will be able to access luxurious accommodation,” Museveni said.
Prof. Kamuntu said tourism is among the five drivers that will lead to economic transformation and propel Uganda to become a middle-income economy by 2020.
According to the Statistical Abstract 2016 by Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Uganda received 1.32 million tourist arrivals. 18% visited for purposes of leisure, recreation and holiday; 22% visited for business and professional conferences; 38% were visiting friends and relatives; while other 22% visited for other reasons such as transit, education and medical.
Hotel Triangle is located along Mbarara Southern bypass, strategically positioned near the Mbarara-Kampala highway and Makenke Coca-Cola plant. Its facilities include 160 rooms, a presidential suite, various conference centers, three swimming pools, children’s play centre, as well as childcare services, among others.
According to the Mbarara Municipality Mayor, Robert Kakyebezi, the hotel will be great for travelers who go through Mbarara town, and put Mbarara accommodation at a new level.
“The five-star hotel will give cross-border travelers a choice to stay over at a deluxe hotel while en-route their journeys. On top of that, having an all-new facility in our area will also address the issue of not accessing enough decent accommodation which we have been facing,” Kakyebezi said.
Hajji Kafeero appealed to government to give tax exemptions and tax holidays to local investors as they contribute greatly to economic growth, compared to foreigners with low contribution.
“You may be surprised to find that some of us are not given tax holidays and tax exemptions. I have invoices of Asian friends who have been supplying us things, they don’t pay tax; you find an invoice has ‘Income Tax Exempted,’ yet he has a little shop selling few things,” he said.
Hajji Kafeero owns various hotels and arcades in Kampala, Jinja and Mbarara, which include the famous Mutaasa Kafeero plaza along William street, Kampala.