Kagina advises government to spend taxes on wealth creation

Outgoing URA Commissioner General, Ms Allen Kagina, (R) speaks with the Chief of Defence forces, Gen Katumba Wamala, at the Open Minds Forum last week. Photo by Rachel Mabala

What you need to know:

Real independence includes taking charge of our national Budget.

Kampala- The outgoing Uganda Revenue Authority Commissioner General, Ms Allen Catherine Kagina, has advised government to spend the revenues collected by the tax body on economic sectors that create wealth and not in areas that are unproductive—consumption.

According to Ms Kagina, compliance can easily be enhanced if the taxpayers are able to identify with tangible developments accrued from the share of their revenues.

Speaking during the 8th Open Minds Forum, an engagement organised by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to discuss topical issues, Ms Kagina said investment done in productive economic sectors such as roads, power and developing systems will in the long run payoff and be the basis for not just stimulating growth but sustaining it as well.

She said: “We need to get to a point where we are able to fund our budget 100 percent. And to do that, we must invest our resources in productive areas. This means we must change our attitude and be ready to suffer today for better tomorrow.”

She continued: “Borrowed money that we use to fund our Budget is paid back with interest. And if it is misused it means that we will pay it back with interest yet we didn’t benefit from it. Real independence means that we are able to take charge of our affairs—including our budget.”

Ms Kagina said if as a country, Uganda does not invest in sectors that will create wealth, sooner or later lenders could get fed up of doing so, and this could hurt the country’s development agenda.

When she took over URA 10 years ago, she said things were not right. To fix that, she restructured the organisation into a much leaner one and devolved the powers of the senior officers to the field officers who do the bulk of the work, leaving the senior managers to concentrate on supervision and facilitation among other strategic duties.

The Chief of Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces, Gen. Katumba Wamala, in his presentation said leadership determines whether an institution will make it or crumble. He said Ms Kagina has managed to demonstrate that through proper leadership, an institution can be transformed.