President Yoweri Museveni has asked Ugandans to fulfil their national duty of paying taxes so as to contribute to the Nation building.
The President in his speech delivered by the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda during the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Silver Jubilee celebrations at the URA headquarters in Nakawa on Saturday, commended URA Commissioner General, Doris Akol, past and present Management, staff and the Development Partners upon achieving the great milestone of URA’s 25 years of service and development.
Mr Museveni pledged government commitment to ensuring that all Ugandans benefit from the increased revenue generated from taxes through effective and efficient utilisation.
The President said government has strived to ensure that social sectors directly benefit the poor by prioritising the sectors of agriculture, infrastructure, energy, education and health through improved services, increased funding and subsidising of the services offered by those sectors.
PM Rugunda poses for a photo with URA awardees during URA Silver Jubilee celebrations at URA headquaters in Nakawa on Saturday (Photo by PMPU)
He also called upon Ugandans to support URA in all its endeavours as it plays a central role in enabling Uganda to achieve a middle income status by 2020, adding that URA should ensure that the tax to GDP ratio grows to at least 20%.
Museveni also noted that despite of the steady growth in revenue collection evidenced by a growth of over 6,000% and a percentage of the GDP of 12.7% in the last financial year 2015/16, the figure is still low and perhaps the lowest in the region and therefore efforts should be made by URA to widen the tax base so as to increase revenue collections from the areas that are currently untaxed, especially in the large informal sector.
“This occasion is not only a day for celebration but also an opportunity for Uganda to take stock of the progress of the NRM government over the past 30 years as well as lay down the gauntlet for the next few decades as we strive to take Uganda to a competitive middle income country,” the President said.
The President urged URA to build on the initiatives and achievements of the e-tax system, the Tax Payer Registration Enhancement Project (TREP) in partnership with KCCA, URSB and the local governments, the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) and Single Customs Territory (SCT) to further facilitate trade and ease doing of business.
“As government we must ensure that barriers to trade, non –tariff barriers and bottlenecks that affected doing business for investments across sectors are totally eradicated,” Museveni said.
The President also commended all Ugandans especially the individual and corporate entities who were awarded for fulfilling their tax obligations and contributing to the country’s revenue growth.
He however noted that all this is possible because of the prevailing peace and stability in the country.
PM Rugunda, MoS for Finance David Bahati, URA Board Chairman Dr Kagugube, URA CG, Akol and other officials cut the URA Silver Jubilee Cake at URA headquaters in Nakawa on Saturday (Photo by PMPU)
The State Minister for Planning, David Bahati, also commended URA for overcoming all the challenges such as corruption and tax non-compliance to develop the country.
He said a number of reforms that need to be implemented by URA include, expanding the tax base to about 18% of the GDP, lifting about 69% of the households from a peasant economy and removing barriers to investments and a favourable tax policy to enhance the growth of the economy.
He however advised that this can only be achieved if everyone fulfils their tax obligations by paying their share of taxes.
Bahati also commended the staff of URA for exercising a high level of integrity by not being corrupt while executing tax revenue collection and thus encouraged them to maintain the behaviour.
The Commissioner General of URA, Doris Akol thanked President Museveni for creating and maintaining peace and stability that has transformed the country.
Akol also thanked Ugandans for fulfilling their tax obligations and pledged to collect more revenue which will usher the country into a middle income status by 2020.
Various individuals and organisations were recognised and awarded for fulfilling their tax obligations as well as contributing to the development of the country.
Among those awarded included the Inspectorate of Government, Nile breweries, Century bottling company, Tororo cement, Uganda Bankers Association, TASO, Nakayima Janet and Babubhai Patel.
BY DOREEN NASASIRA