KAMPALA – The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa has urged businesses to comply with Uganda’s tax laws to help the country build a sustainable economy.
Officiating at the 13th Edition of the Financial Reporting Awards (FiRe) held at Kampala Serena Hotel, Tayebwa said the government is working on tax incentives for companies that are compliant with the tax laws of the country.
“The only way we can build a sustainable economy is through clear books of accounts that do conform to the principles of corporate governance,” the Deputy Speaker said.
“It will be upon us as a government to put in place incentives for companies which are compliant. We have been focused on a very small group of companies that are compliant but I’m very sure if there’s clear financial reporting, that will help us to widen the tax base and grow our tax-to-GDP ratio,” he added, adding that:
“From our calculation, if we can widen the tax base to GDP ratio to around 18%, then we shall be able to bring in an extra 10 trillion into our coffers. Now that will help us to reduce the country’s borrowing.”
Mr. Tayebwa also urged businesses to be honest in their reporting warning that running a business on wrong ethics is very dangerous.
“As a businessman what I’ve learned, is the moment you build your business on wrong ethics, such as dodging taxes, financial engineering, influence peddling, then that business is not sustainable, because the time will come when you will no longer influence,” he said.
He added that businesses that are not reporting shouldn’t be given government businesses saying those who are reporting are being cheated by those that don’t.
FiRe awards are organized and held annually by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU), in partnership with the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), and the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).
The 13th edition ran under the Theme, ESG: Reporting as Brand Storytelling.”
CPA Stephen Ineget, the Chairperson FiRe Awards while speaking about the theme said, that when an organization promotes ESG, they attract investments which in turn increase incomes, boosting the organisation’s finances.
“When an organization promotes ESG, they attract investors which in turn boosts the organization’s finances. So, it is important to ensure that your organization promotes respect but also story tells its brand through effective ESG reporting,” he said.
He said the winners of the top three awards were selected based on the extent of connectivity of information resulting in a holistic, comprehensive, and coherent annual report.
“Investors and the wider stakeholders of organizations are looking for information on how organizations manage their environmental impact, engage with their communities, and uphold strong governance practices. With ESG reporting, investors can screen or align investments to organization values and avoid dealing with organizations with the risk of environmental damage, social missteps, or corruption,” CPA Ineget said.
CPA Josephine Okui Ossiya, the President of ICPAU said the 2023 FiRe Awards serve as a platform for stakeholders to chant the course for Uganda’s future through responsible and impactful reporting.
Mr. Keith Kalyegira the Chief Executive Officer, Capital Markets Authority said ESG has evolved from being a niche concern to a fundamental aspect of responsible business practices.
He said accountants play a vital role in safeguarding the integrity of financial and investment decisions.
“We believe that accountants are essential allies in promoting proper financial reporting practices. This helps empower businesses, especially those seeking capital to tap into capital markets effectively, facilitating their growth and success,” the CMA boss said, urging business entities to use reporting as a powerful tool for brand storytelling.
Speaking that at the sidelines of the event SP Eddy Ssekanjako, the treasurer of Police Exodus Sacco said ESG is a new global initiative in terms of reporting which the Police’s Sacco embraces.
“The Certificate of recognition improves our image on what we do as a Police Sacco as well as the institutional organization of the Uganda Police,” SP Ssekanjako Eddy said.
Since its inception, close to 800 organisations have participated in the Awards.