The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), the tax body has been challenged to invest in more innovative ways of engaging the business community to appreciate the value of paying taxes.
According to the economic experts at the UG Economic Forum 2022, navigating the tightrope of tax administration as well as remitting enough revenue to the country’s coffers calls for more than what has been done so far.
The executive director at Seatini Uganda, Jane Nalunga said that tax is not about revenues only but it is a tool to help Ugandans grow their economy.
On the issue of widening the tax base, Nalunga said there is a need to increase the administrative efficiency of URA, calling for more investment in URA so that it can do its work very well.
She said as a country, we need to cast its net broader when discussing issues of growing the economy and ensuring that it has a taxable income, adding that the issues of taxation and private and public investment are all tools to take the country to another level.
“To grow our economy, create jobs and reduce poverty, the way they [tools] are designed will be very critical. The issue of production is important. We don’t tax a vacuum. We tax a vibrant economy. You reap where you sow. Our economy is mainly informal,” she said.
Gerald Namoma, senior economist/tax policy at the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, said a lot of what they do includes not just increasing taxes but addressing some of the concerns raised by their stakeholders.
Amidst a number of challenges, he said they are on course to improving the country’s revenue efforts.
Julius Mukunda, the chief executive officer at Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group(CSBAG) proposed that in order to expand the country’s tax base, more concentration should be put on those who aren’t on the registry to bring them on board.
“Corruption is one of the reasons why people don’t want to pay taxes. In Japan, when you steal government money, you kill yourself. In China, they kill you. In Uganda, what do we do?” he queried.
The acting manager tax education in the commissioner general’s department at URA, Michael Masembe said they have instances were taxpayers registered, but are inactive.
“We recently implemented the financial literacy Program, and within one session, we helped a number of people to understand licensing requirements,” he said.
Dr. Francis Mwesigye, director Economic Research and Knowledge Management at Uganda Development Bank said their core mandate is to promote social-economic transformation.
“I call upon Ugandans to come to UDB and seek this funding. We have talked about private capital, private investment and its role in transforming this country,” he said.