Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has closed Parambot Distilleries Ltd and Namanve based logistics company Transtrac in an operation to collect tax arrears that have accumulated over the years. With only two weeks left to the close of the 2016/17 financial year, advice URA has stepped up its efforts to ensure compliance among defaulters. As of May, approved the tax body had a Ush 200bn deficit.
On Tuesday, URA’s debt collection unit led by Stanley Kabyemera locked down the business premises of Parambot Distilleries Ltd located along Gayaza road for non payment of tax amounting to Ush 9.2 billion. The accrued arrears include Pay As You Earn (PAYE) of Ush 43.8 million, Value Added Tax (Ush 2.6 bn), Local Excise Duty (Ush 5.5 bn) and Income Tax (Ush 1.02bn).
“In our debt collection operation today, we have locked down the business premises of Parambot including offices and the distillery due to liabilities that have accumulated since 2014,” Kabyemera, the URA Manager for Debt Collection said to journalists.
He said the distillery had in 2014 signed an agreement with URA to pay in installments but they failed to honor the terms.
“They requested for more time which we granted them but again failed to pay. We hope they will approach us so we can reach an amicable understanding,” he added.
Several company vehicles as well as those belonging to the company Directors were also barred from leaving the premises until the outstanding debt is cleared. Kabyemera said failure of payment could lead to auctioning of these vehicles.
In the same operation, the parking yard for Logistics Company Transtrac containing over 50 heavy cargo trucks has also been locked down. Transtrac is subsidiary of the Bro Group which includes two other companies; Three Ways Shipping Services and Three Ways Distribution co-owned by Jeff Bihamaiso Baitwa and Oscar Businge Baitwa.
Transtrac Uganda Ltd which is situated in the Namanve Industrial Park has defaulted up to Ush 2.5 billion in tax arrears for the last 5 years. The debt comprises of Ush 484 million in VAT, Ush 1.16 bn in PAYE and Ush 580 million in income tax.
Following the impromptu visit by tax officers on their Jinja Road based offices on Tuesday, both Three Ways Shipping and Three Ways Distribution Ltd cleared their arrears of Ush 416 million and Ush 176 million.
“We are proceeding to work on those non-compliant tax payers especially those that have failed to honor their agreements with URA. They should honor all correspondences they receive from us because we don’t like to inconvenience them,” Kabyemera told journalists.