Business

URA Collects 70% of Revenue Despite Economic Slowdown

URA Commissioner General Doris Akol (on the left) announcing the July 2016 to March 2017 revenue performance at a press conference on Wednesday

Uganda Revenue Authority has released its 9 month revenue collection performance between July 2016 and March 2017 reporting a 13.5% growth in revenue compared to the same period last fiscal year.

With just three months to the end of the 2016/17 financial year, rx the tax body has so far collected a net revenue of Ush 9 trillion which represents 70% of its initial net target of Ush 13 trillion.

The URA Commissioner General Doris Akol who announced the performance to the press on Wednesday said in March this year alone, symptoms taxes collected amounted to Ush 5.4 billion which is an increment of 13% compared to March 2016, capsule reducing the cumulative deficit to Ush 240 billion.

Considering that the economy suffered a slowdown which consequently saw the GDP growth revised downwards to 4.5% from 5%, Akol said the increase in taxes is a positive development.

According to URA, the major sectors that contributed to achieving this growth include wholesale and retail both of which contributed 27.7%.

“The economic slowdown caused by prolonged drought, constrained aggregate demand and global certainty affected the level of economic activity in key performing sectors. Under the circumstance, we believe the revenue performance is impressive,” Akol told journalists.

Decline was however registers in other sectors such as manufacturing, financial and insurance, construction and transportation. URA attributes the decline to the reduction in private sector credit largely due to Non-Performing Loans since much of the trade in these sectors depend on credit.

Of the Ush 9 trillion collected, 57% was generated from domestic taxes collections and 42.8% from international trade taxes. The decrease in international trade was driven by the increased imports in materials for the ongoing major infrastructure projects. Domestic taxes posted a surplus of Ush 28 bn over the 9 month period.

On the whole, Akol said revenue growth was a result of administration efficiency measures undertaken by URA over the 9 month period.

“We tightened revenue leakage points and introduced new systems and procedures which enhanced revenue efficiency, collection and trade facilitation,” she said.

The operationalization of the One Stop Border Posts in Malaba, Busia, Mutukula and Mirama Hills in the 2015/16 has since showed positive results. Other initiatives that have yielded the growth are; introduction of convenient methods of payment, the Regional Cargo Tracking System, implementation of the Electronic Single Window.

In comparison with other regional states, only Rwanda and Uganda managed to perform above the regional average revenue performance of 97.4% over the 9 month period. Tanzania has collected 95%, Kenya 94.6%, Rwanda 100.6% and Uganda 97.4%. The revenue growth for Kenya and Rwanda is 13.5% and 10.2% respectively.

That notwithstanding, URA is still faced with the task of collecting the remaining sum of Ush 3 trillion (29.89% of the target) between April and June 30 this year. In order to raealize this, Akol said URA will strengthen the implementation of the 24 hour clearance system to reduce backlog, deploy scanners at the borders and focus surveillance on high risk goods which are often smuggled into the country.

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