January 4—Doris Akol, the Commissioner General of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has asked political leaders in Kampala to stop politicising issues involving taxes because it is costing the economy. Last financial year URA reported a shortfall on the target set by the government, but this was also true for revenue authorities across East African Community.
“There are a lot of politics in Kampala city and yet it’s our main centre for revenue collection. I ask politicians to stop politicising everything because in the end, its the economy that is affected,” she said in a New Year message.
Akol said they continue to have challenges in tax implementation especially in the capital because of politicians who she said have selfish interests and continue misleading people about tax payments.
Akol gave an example of strikes by taxi drivers who continue to claim that URA is overcharging them which is not true.
“Apart from the other taxes that are imposed by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), a taxi in Kampala pays UGX280,000 per year. That is only UGX20,000 per chair. However because of political interests, politicians continue misleading these people into strikes which is not helping the situation.”
Akol who was delivering his new year message to taxpayers on one of the local TV channels yesterday also asked politicians and Ugandans to stop making uninformed comments about tax increments.
“Often we hear people saying we have increased taxes hence the reason for increased prices which is not true in most cases. We cannot make any abrupt tax changes without the approval of parliament,” Akol said.
She further asked finance officials to find reasons to why the private sector is not borrowing money from banks and yet the central bank has decreased the Central Bank Rate. She said, “If banks are not lending, it means there is no development going on. Our manufactures need to have access to capital so that they can develop their businesses.”