Uganda has a vibrant and diverse civil society sector that plays an important role in promoting human rights, social justice, and development. Foreign NGOs have increasingly been drawn to Uganda to support various causes, ranging from humanitarian relief to democracy promotion.
The NGO Act, 2016 defines an NGO as a legally constituted organization under the Act, which may be a private voluntary grouping of individuals or associations established to provide voluntary services to the community or any part, but not-forprofit or commercial purposes.
Types Of Organizations
Uganda’s law recognizes four (4) types of organizations, these include: i. Indigenous NGOs: These are organizations founded and controlled by Ugandan citizens. ii. Foreign organizations: These are organizations incorporated outside Uganda and are controlled by people who are not citizens of Uganda or citizens of the East African Community and operating in Uganda under a permit issued by the Bureau. iii. International Organization: This means an organization that was incorporated outside the East African Community and is wholly or partially controlled by citizens of countries other than citizens of member states of the East African Community. iv. Regional organization: This means an organization incorporated in one or more of the Partner States of the East African Community, and which is partially or wholly controlled by citizens of one or more of the Partner States of the East African Community, and which is operating in Uganda under the authority of a permit issued by the Bureau;
NOTE: The categorization of different NGOs is mainly based on the citizenship of persons who are key decision makers in the organization. This potentially means an organization incorporated in Uganda by non Ugandans can be considered non Ugandan.
In this Article we are going to Concentrate on the Registration of a Foreign NGO in Uganda.
An organization incorporated outside Uganda, which intends to operate in Uganda, must apply to the Bureau to be registered and issued with a permit.
1. Application filled Form N signed by at least two Founder members. 2. A letter requesting for registration and a permit to operate addressed to the Executive Director, NGO Bureau indicating; objectives, area of operation, number of years applied for not exceeding 5). 3. A certified or notarized copy of the Certificate of Incorporation from Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB). 4. Annual Work plan and budget for the number of years applied for the Permit 5. A copy of the registered Memorandum and Articles of Association, organization’s constitution or governing documents in which the dissolution clause should inter alia specify; a. Quorum to pass a resolution for winding up b. How organization assets shall be handled upon winding up 6. A chart showing the governance structure of the organization 7. Proof of payment of the prescribed fees for the Certificate of Registration and the Permit of Operation. 8. A statement indicating the source of funding of the activities of the organization. 9. Copies of valid identification documents (National ID or Passport) and passport size photographs of at least two founder members . 10. A copy of Minutes, Signed Attendance List and resolution registered with Uganda Registration Services Bureau authorizing the organization to register with the NGO Bureau 11. A statement complying with Section 45 of the NGO Act, 2016 (About staffing of the organization). 12. A recommendation from the District Non Governmental Organizations Monitoring Committee (DNMC) where the Organization’s headquarter is located. 13. A recommendation from the responsible Ministry or Ministries, or a Government Department or Agency.
The organization incorporated outside Uganda may be required to fulfil other conditions such as those relating to registration of Ugandan organizations, one of them would be to apply for a permit of operation from the Bureau.
Application for a permit
Every organization operating in Uganda shall on top of being registered by the Bureau apply for a permit to allow them to work. A permit can be issued for a maximum of 5 years renewable. The person applying must show the time for which the permit needs to operate.
Permit Application Procedure
The person shall apply by filing application form (Form D of the regulations) and shall specify the following in the application: i. the operations or objectives of the organization; ii. the areas where the organization may carry out its activities; iii. staffing of the organization; iv. geographical area of coverage of the organization; v. location of the organization’s headquarters; vi. Evidence of payment of the prescribed fees (400,000/= per year for foreign organizations); vii. intended period of operation not exceeding five years.
It should be noted that the Bureau can put conditions in the permit. The conditions normally relate with what the organization can do and where it can do it. They are normally specific to the subject and geographical area of focus within Uganda. An organization can also apply to the Bureau to have the conditions in the permit reviewed or changed. Specifically, an organization that would like to change its area of focus or its scope shall apply to the Bureau to have this reflected in its permit.