Uganda’s Tax Revenue Grows by 15% Amid Economic Slowdown

The Commissioner General Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Doris Akol

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has reported a 15 percent growth amounting to UgShs. 1, pharm 515.28Bn in the 2015/16 financial year compared to the previous financial year.

A net revenue worth UgShs.11, and 230.87 Bn was collected including domestic tax worth UgShs. 6, information pills 399.99Bn, and UgShs. 4,832.47Bn garnered from international trade. Uganda’s tax register increased to 900,000 from 763,000 in the 2014/15 financial year.

However, growth in revenue declined by 5 percent in 2015/16 compared to that of 2014/15 posting a shortfall of UgShs. 404.54Bn.

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At a press briefing held on Wednesday, URA Commissioner General Doris Akol attributed this drop in growth to the elections and macroeconomic environment especially during the last 6 months of the 2015/16 financial year. Among them, a low GDP growth in comparison to the projected 5.4%, the depreciation of the shilling by 25% and a decline in non-fuel import value.

“There was a reduction by 10% in the budget allocated to facilitate our operations in 2015/16 resulting into a funding gap of UgShs. 55Bn,” said the Commissioner General.

“This amount was to enable us collect taxes worth UgShs. 110Bn through administrative initiatives like digital tax stamps, electronic fiscal devices, Extending Electronic Cargo Track System, e-Tax interface with National IDs among others,” Ms Akol added.

Between January and May alone, URA registered shortfall of UgShs. 108Bn due to the political environment and uncertainty within the business sector. For each public holiday, Uganda loses Ugx 39Bn in taxes.

In order to further compliance among tax payers, Akol said URA undertook several initiatives including rewarding loyal tax payers, the receipt campaign, fostering tax awareness and public sensitization on tax payment.

Francis Kamulegeya, a Senior Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) an international tax and audit consultancy firm hailed URA for its continued growth over the years but noted that “the challenge remains on the narrow tax base with 50% of the economy being informal businesses”.

Concerning the political instability in neighboring South Sudan, URA’s Commissioner for Customs Dickson Kateshumba said that Ugandan businesses have greatly been frustrated. In 2015, trade in South Sudan earned Uganda about 43Bn which has since dropped to 9.2Bn as of June this year according to Kateshumba.

South Sudan accounts for 60% of all exports that leave Uganda and in 2015, URA Collected 1.8Bn in taxes from goods exported to the world’s youngest nation.

This current financial year, URA will be looking to collect Ugx. 13.18Bn.


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