KAMPALA — The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) on Friday celebrated the most compliant taxpayers of Uganda for the 2019/2020 financial year in a scientific setting held at Mestil Hot in Kampala.
The ceremony, whose chief guest was Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, also attracted several guests including Buganda Kingdom Premiere Charles Peter Mayiga and URA board chairman Juma Kisaame and was presided over by URA chief John Musinguzi.
Minister Kasaija applauded the taxpayers— saying without them the country can not succeed.
“When you pay your taxes, bear in mind that you are also serving your interests. Paying taxes is not a punishment,” said Kasaija.
Kasaija also thanked URA for penetrating the dark areas where large scale tax evasion takes place.
URA chief Musinguzi said that although Uganda has improved its tax-to-GDP ratio in the last few years, tax collection is still just 13 per cent of GDP, well below the sub-Saharan average of 16 per cent.
“Our Tax to GDP ratio is still at a paltry 13%. This is below the average
sub-Saharan African performance of 16%. Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average is 34.3%, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) average is 23.1% while Morocco, Seychelles, South Africa and Tunisia – are at more than 25% Tax to GDP ratio,” Mr Musinguzi indicated.
For Uganda to attain self-sufficiency, he said, “we need to at least double our Tax to GDP ratio from the current 13% to 26%”.
He said URA has since renewed the commitment to leading Uganda to
economic self-sufficiency status and that a number of initiatives have been implemented to enable the taxman transform the way it works and offer a better service to taxpayers.
Key among the instituted mechanisms to enable economic players to make their fair contribution to the revenue basket include, encouraging taxpayers to embrace the voluntary disclosure avenue, use of Alternative Dispute Resolution and collaborating with various stakeholders in the private sector and government agencies in areas of information exchange and system integrations.
“We will continue to adopt the use of enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence and data analytics to identify potential revenue, and enhance the support to our taxpayers, use drones in surveillance of our borders, and non-intrusive inspection
technologies to facilitate trade,” he said.
URA recently rolled out
the Digital Tracking Solution and Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing System to improve the collection of Local Excise Duty and VAT respectively.
Mr. Musinguzi said this has had a massive positive impact on revenue collection.
Mr. Kisaame said URA Board is purposing to enhance and transform tax administration to ease doing business
and reduce the cost of compliance.
He also pledged that Board will continue to advise management to engage taxpayers and citizens and build
“This is essential in building productive
collaborations. We are therefore positive that with an engaged citizenry, the taxpaying culture shall be enhanced ultimately”.
Mr. Ian Rumanyika, Manager Public and Corporate Affairs at URA said during the Taxpayer Appreciation Season the tax body recognized the true sources of tax revenue from taxpayers across the country.
“We celebrated top 10 most compliant taxpayers in the SME category per District, Reward,” he adding that “Through this gratitude gesture, we promote voluntary tax compliance, Position URA as a listening partner, a business enabler and service oriented organisation. Ultimately we always see improved revenue collections”.
He added: “We are cognisant of the current times of COVID 19, and we are ready to walk the journey together with Taxpayers for the good for our country, We particularly dedicated this season to appreciate compliant taxpayers especially those that remained compliant despite the hardships faced during Covid 19 pandemic, we celebrate their resilience. Thank you for paying your Taxes.
“Through appreciating those who are complaint we reinforce a culture of voluntary compliance and heighten the spirit of patriotism and accountability among Ugandans as we develop Uganda together”.