URA names top 40 taxpayers during Covid

Some of the award winners with Finance minister Matia Kasaija (circled) and other government officials at the URA headquarters in Kampala on December 10, 2021. PHOTO/ISMAIL MUSA LADU 

What you need to know:

  • A source within URA said the shape of this year’s top most compliant taxpayers was based on their conduct and not necessarily the amount of taxes they contribute to the tax body’s revenue kitty.

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has named 30 top most compliant taxpayers in the country, and appreciated some 10 others for their strategic role in tax administration, revenue mobilisation and tax advocacy.
The annual tax appreciation award, which also crowned celebrations to mark URA’s 30 years of service, recognised most compliant taxpayers and exemplary institutions and individuals, who have supported the revenue mobilisation over the years.

But notable absence on the list are “the big industry players”, particularly in the telecom and energy sector. 
A source within URA said the shape of this year’s top most compliant taxpayers was based on their conduct and not necessarily the amount of taxes they contribute to the tax body’s revenue kitty. 

The source, who is knowledgeable about the criteria of which  taxpayers can make it onto the list of the most compliant tax entity, said they must have at least three years proven tax compliance record irrespective of their size or revenue contribution to the revenue account.
“If you have been having any tax compliance issues, it is unlikely that you will make it to any of the award category,” the source said.       
The last two years have seen the prestigious awards conducted in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic and containment measures, which have wiped off revenues of majority of taxpayers.    

In his remarks at the annual taxpayers’ appreciation ceremony on Friday, Finance minister Matia Kasaija asked the taxpayers to always honour their tax obligations in time. He said by doing so, they are indirectly investing in businesses and economic prosperity of the country, and at the same time reducing his frequent trips to the Cabinet seeking to borrow.       
Lately, URA has upped its efforts to widen the tax contribution to GDP, which has, for more than a decade, been hovering between 12 and 13 percent, which is the lowest compared to what Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda collects. 

The country’s tax-to-GDP ratio, which records how much of a country’s output goes to government in form of tax receipts, is also lower than the sub-Saharan African average of 16 percent.
Speaking in Mid-September at celebrations to mark 30 years of the tax collection body existence, President Museveni said URA will have to double the tax-to-GDP ratio to between 20 and 26 percent if the country is to become self-sufficient.
At the Friday event, Mr Kasaija said once the tax compliance level sufficiently picks up, there will be no need for the government to borrow at the rate at which it does. 

Mr Kasaija said government borrows because of perpetual revenue deficits, a habit he said can be got rid of when the country’s narrow tax base is widen. 
He disclosed to the 30 most compliant taxpayers at the ceremony that almost every week, and in some cases after fortnight, he seeks Cabinet permission to borrow, earning him a tagline of ‘minister of borrowing, an identity he said he would like to shade off.  
Mr Kasaija noted that the debt burden the country is shouldering, currently is in excess of Shs70 trillion, which is not only an issue of concern, but also “not a smart way of running a business.”
He said: “Business people here know that once you borrow and default, your assets will be taken away and that is not a smart way of running a business.”    

Budget deficit
In his remarks, URA Commissioner General Rujoki Musinguzi said the domestically mobilised revenue can only finance up to about 50 percent of the National Budget, compelling the government to borrow the other half, which many times comes with unfavourable conditions that often times are not in line with the country’s development agenda.
As a result and in line with the President Museveni’s demand to widen the tax base, Mr Musinguzi said the task ahead, which is to liberate the country from dependency on aid and budget support, is to raise the tax to GDP ratio to between 20 and 26 per cent in the next four years – a task the head of the tax collectors and the board chairperson, Mr Juma Kisaame, said they will give their best shot at.

Mr Kasaija applauded the top taxpayers and also invoked the biblical saying about the need to pay taxes. 
“Give God what belong to God and give Ceaser what belong to Caesar,” he said.
Speaking after being awarded the Commissioner General’s Award under the Strategic partnership category, the executive director of Southern & Eastern Africa Trade Information & Negotiations Institute, Ms Jane Nalunga, said this is not the time to relax but dig deep in terms of stronger collaboration to help URA collect more taxes and widen its revenue collection base.

Ms Nalunga, whose organisation, according to URA “has ably advocated tax administration issues, significantly contributing to tax policy formulation in Uganda, was recognised with the Commissioner General’s Award for Strategic Professional Body 2021.
She said the taxman recognition of the top most compliant taxpayers speaks to the human face of a revenue collection body in a time of hardship.


Top taxpayers Awards 

Excel Award 
1. Citi Bank – for meeting all her monthly and annual obligations with 100 percent filling ratio. 
2. Housing Finance
3. Davis & Shirtliff

Vantage Award 
4. Pride Microfinance Limited (PMFL) -- has proven to be loyal, dedicated, passionate and committed to filing accurate returns and paying taxes on time. 
5. Uganda Clays - has proven to be very compliant and passionate about meeting their tax obligations as pertains timely filing and payments on time. 
6. Uganda Batteries (UBL) - has proven to be very compliant and passionate about meeting its tax obligations by ensuring timely filing and payment of taxes.
7. DHL - for consistently fulfilling its tax obligations, providing excellent services and professionalism.

Central Region

8. Classic Africa Safaris (U) Ltd -- the company is up-to-date with filing and payments and they always meet their tax obligations by the due date. 
9. Mr Michael Kimoni Mutie – recognised for being the most compliant taxpayer in the central region 

Northern Region 
10. St Jude -- has proven to be very compliant and passionate about meeting their tax obligation and one of the most compliant taxpayer in the northern region. 
11. Mr Christopher Dau -- is a renowned businessman in Lira City. He has proven to be very compliant and passionate about meeting his tax obligations as pertains timely filing and payments. 

Western Region 
12. Millennium Security Ltd - We commend and are proud to award Millenium Security Ltd as the most compliant taxpayer in the western region under the Non-Individual category.
13. Mr Goodman Muhangi -- It is, therefore, our honour and privilege to recognise Mr Goodman Muhangi, as the most compliant taxpayer in the western region under the Individual category.

Eastern Region 
14. United Worldwide Forwarders -- timely pay taxes, file accurate returns and for that receive the award as the most compliant taxpayer in the eastern region under the Non-Individual category.
15.  Mr Sigh gets the Vantage Award for the best individual taxpayer in the eastern region. 
Wholesale Category 
16.  Aum Limited – recognised as one of the compliant taxpayers under Vantage Wholesale category.
17.  Royal Pharma (U) Limited, one of the most compliant taxpayers under Vantage Wholesale category 

Agriculture Sector 
18.  Incafex Ranches Ltd is a managing agent of various ranches – We commend and are proud to award Incafex Ranches Ltd as Vantage Award Winner under the manufacturing sector.
19. Fido Dido Industries –Vantage award winner under the manufacturing sector.
Real Estate Sector
20.  Laaluma Nivas Limited – the most compliant taxpayer under the Real Estate Non-Individual category
21. Ms Dolatikhanu Madatali -- the most compliant real estate taxpayer under the individual category.

MDA and Local Government
22. Mbabara University of Science and Technology (MUST) -- URA commends the university for complying with the taxpayer obligations as stipulated in the Taxpayer Charter 
23. Mbale District Local Government –became exemplary as they have adopted and coped with the e-TAX systems and other policy changes in real time. 

24. Ecobank Uganda -- was the 1st e-Payment partner bank after the introduction of e-TAX, all partner banks collecting URA revenue were required to integrate their banking systems with e-TAX to ease reconciliation and enhance efficiency in revenue reporting. 
25. United Bank for Africa (Uganda) Limited -- was the first Online Payment partner bank with URA. 

26.  Spedag Interfreight  -- is one of the leading freight logistics companies in East Africa operating in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and DR Congo.
27.  Nice House of Plastics -- Nice House has always spearheaded technological and other innovations that greatly impacted URA operations over the years.
Commissioner General’s Award & Lifetime Achiever 
28. The New Vision Printing & Publishing Company LTD – fully adopted and embraced the Electronic Fiscal Receipting Solution (EFRIS) - one of URA’s smart solutions aimed at improving business efficiency.
Commissioner General’s Award Strategic MDA
29. Uganda Registration Services Bureau – for contributing to URA revenue mobilisation efforts over the years.
30. National Planning Authority for contributing to URA revenue mobilisation efforts over the years.
31. URA salutes and appreciates the top management of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), for its gallant contribution to URA, in preparation for the mission to mobilise sufficient revenue that will deliver Uganda to economic independence.

32.  ATAF - owing to the strong partnership between the tax prefect and the continental tax body 
33. Institute of Internal Auditors – for upholding professionalism and integrity. 
34.  Southern & Eastern Africa Trade Information & Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) - this institution actively collaborates with URA in revenue mobilisation engagements aimed at advancing adoption of progressive tax policies in Uganda. We recognise SEATINI-Uganda, for the Commissioner General’s award for strategic professional body 2021.

URA Lifetime Achievers Award 2021.
35. Ms Allen Catherine Kagina, for Commissioner General 
36. Ms Doris Akol
37. Hon Elly Rwakakoko - the first Ugandan URA Commissioner General, replacing Dr Edward Odame Larbi-Siaw, a Ghanaian expatriate whose tenure ended in 1997
38. Hon Gerald Ssendaula, Minister of Finance, he later led URA’s governing body.
39. Mr Keith Muhakanizi, former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance. Remembered for his vehement support in the development of the Domestic Revenue Mobilisation Strategy 
40. Mr Justin Zaake, former Deputy Commissioner General of URA