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URA’s Akol Fears Slow Growth Could Affect Shs15Tn Revenue Target

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URA Commissioner General Doris Akol (R), the Commissioner for Customs Dickson Kateshumba (C) and the Commissioner for Legal and Board Affairs Patience Rubagumya (L) during Monday's press briefing

Tax collection body Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) intends to leverage its investments in technology in order to meet its Shs15 trillion target of tax collections this financial year 2017/18, an increment of Shs2 trillion from the previous year.

In a bid to improve its efficiency and compliance, URA plans to implement the Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs) that businesses will use to effectively manage sales analysis and stock control.

Doris Akol, the URA Commissioner General, while releasing the tax performance for the concluded year said that EFDs will enable URA to easily access tax payers’ daily transaction details.

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“Implementation of EFDs will address a number if challenges including; under declaration of sales and profits, non-issuance of invoices, false refunds, untraceable taxpayers and reduction of a large informal sector,” the Commissioner General told journalists at the URA annual press briefing held on Monday at the Nakawa Headquarters.

But it remains to be seen whether the economy will recover to an average growth of 5% so as to boost trade and subsequently tax compliance.

It is upon this background that Akol noted that “the target for the financial year 2017/18 is a stretch since it was set based on assumptions that haven’t yet materialized. In addition, much of the policy measures adopted for the 2017/18 financial year are revenue reducing policies which gives us a hard task.”

“It will therefore require a deliberate effort from all stakeholders involved in revenue collection for us to pull this off,” she said.

Compared to Rwanda which outcompeted regional countries in the concluded financial year collecting over 100% in domestic revenue, Uganda still lags behind in terms of compliance.

Akol said that this is partly due to Rwanda’s reliance on EFDs and a high morale of tax payment.

Apart from the electronic billing machines, URA is also set to fully roll out the Single Customs Territory (SCT) procedure for all items imported through Mombasa and Dar-es-Salam ports.

Once implemented this month (for Mombasa) and September (Dar-es-salaam), Akol said “this will improve turnaround times for transporters from 1 round to 3 rounds per month.”

Similarly, an Enterprise Resource Planning module, an automated system that manages financial accounting, stocks and requisitions of goods will be launched next month.

This is expected to boost the Authority’s productivity and facilitate the delivery of quality services.

Recently, Parliament empowered the Finance Minister to determine rental income tax in specific geographical areas so as to clamp down on tax defaulters.

This financial year, URA will complete profiling taxpayers to come up with specific area rates. From this and other policy changes made in 2017/18 FY, URA expects revenue worth Shs289bn.

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