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Uganda’s Tax to GDP Ratio Grows to 14.2%

URA Commissioner General Doris Akol speaking at the Budget Review Breakfast recently
Commissioner General Uganda Revenue Authority, Doris Akol

By Doris Akol

Dear Taxpayers, 

Last week, we saw the end of f/y 2016/17. We are here to say Thank You because we saw many of you willingly comply with your tax obligations.

As June 30th 2017 wound down, we had receipted UShs 12.8 Trillion. The attribute of voluntary compliance with tax obligations is growing and is commended.

The growth in revenue collections has averaged at 16.07 percent over the past four financial years with a real increase of UShs 4.521Trillion being sent to the Treasury.

This year, tax as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased to a projected 14.2 percent, registering an average increase of 3.8 percentage points over the past four-year period.

We are particularly encouraged by the growth in the tax to GDP ratio this past financial year by 0.7 percent points over and above the targeted annual growth of 0.5 percent.

This is a reflection of not only the continued improvement in compliance but also of the return on investments made over the years to make the tax administration more efficient.

We appreciate all who consistently continue to comply with their tax obligations.  Your taxes have significantly contributed to the growth of the economy and led to improvements in service delivery and the quality of life of Ugandans.

For instance, it was recently reported by the Hon Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development that several roads were tarmacked using locally-generated tax revenue.

These are Kampala-Mityana; Kampala-Masaka; Kampala-Kafu-Karuma-Gulu; Jinja-Kamuli; Iganga-Kaliro; Tororo-Mbale-Soroti; Ishaka-Kagamba and Mbarara-Kikagate; Matugga-Semuto.

Additionally, we are aware of significant strides made in the water and sanitation, education, health, agriculture and other sectors, which are improving the quality of life of Ugandans.

These are testimony of why growing the country’s tax revenue should be the goal of everyone and not only of those involved in tax policy and administration.

To that end, we shall soon be commencing and leading a discussion on the development of a sustainable National Revenue Mobilisation Strategy that embraces a holistic view of our policies, laws, administration and tax culture; one that takes on a whole of Government approach and one which will get us all rallying behind the cause of increasing our domestic revenues.

We also thank you for embracing the changes we have recently made to improve our systems and processes.

These included, among many others, the introduction of the Centralized Document Processing Centre (CDPC), which has since fully automated, standardised and quickened the process of clearance of goods through customs. We encourage you to take advantage of the other innovations that we rolled out to enable you beat the queues and conveniently pay your taxes at the least cost to you.

Over the next three years, our goal is to foster a taxpaying culture. This we shall do by leveraging technology e.g. through integration of government databases as well as focus on key growth sectors.

We will continue with our tax education drives and community engagements of all clients in their various segments. Our desire is to lessen the burden of tax payment on the just over 1 million taxpayers by bringing on board many more eligible taxpayers.

As we start f/y 2017/18, the stretch revenue target of UShs 15.1 Trillion will require our combined and concerted effort.

We urge those, who have pending tax obligations to fulfil them in due time. Our pledge to you is that we shall be available to render the required support.

We will continue investing in systems, quality people and non-bureaucratic processes to ensure efficient and expeditious service delivery.

You are welcome to physically interact with us at our many service centres countrywide or call us on our toll-free line 0800117000.

You may also send us email at services @ura.go.ug , follow us on Twitter @URAuganda and like us on Facebook @URAPage.

We thank you for your business and let us continue to Develop Uganda Together.

The author is the Commissioner General Uganda Revenue Authority

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