Thursday January 21 2016

Uganda’s tax system not immoral

By Sarah Birungi Banage

Our attention has been drawn to an article in Daily Monitor of January 5, titled, “ Isn’t Uganda’s tax system immoral?”. Due to the fact that some information was not factual, and potentially misleading, it is prudent that Uganda Revenue Authority, the institution whose mandate is revenue collection, sets the record straight.

URA is supervised by a board of directors and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. The URA leadership namely commissioners and assistant commissioners, are hired in a transparent and thorough process based on merit while a modern automated system facilitates recruitment of the rest of staff. They undergo continuous training programmes like Fired Up for Excellent Leadership (FUEL) and Get Equipped and Reinforced (GEAR) to deliver on mandate.
URA is cognisant of the tax base size and continuously sensitises the public on benefits of paying tax, rights and obligations. Our conviction is that if everyone pays a little, no one has to pay too much.

The Legislature and Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development have been supportive in delivering policy instruments i.e. mandatory acquisition of Tax Identification Numbers, easing tax administration. The current tax system supports both the high and low income earners. It is for that reason that recently the presumptive regime was introduced with tax rates based on location and size of business. This sets the journey to formalise the informal sector and widen the tax base.
Conclusively, one of the key principals of taxation is fairness. Accordingly, while executing its mandate, URA sticks to the principal and ensures professionalism in service delivery. URA appeals to the public to pay their fair share of tax promptly as we develop Uganda and reduce donor dependence.
Sarah Birungi Banage,
Uganda Revenue Authority