Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Uganda's Tax Amnesty Reality

Provoked by a Daily Monitor(one of Uganda's print media houses) Article of December 2007, a series of questions run through my mind especially on the sources of revenue (income) that Uganda is meant to draw from to facilitate her expenditure throughout a financial year - apparently almost all my debates are partially settled in the elaborations of the Columnist's script.

Looking back to FY 2007/2008, the Ministry of Finance with implementing agent being Uganda Revenue Authority  tax and fees defaulters moreso businesses (and individuals) were offered asylum (amnesty) and their debts were written off. The basis and rationale for this move would be (was) to morale boost Business activities among those ventures that were failing to declare and pay taxes.

Whether this is (was) a win-win or win-loss scenario, the compromise and impact definitely is (was) obvious. Simply put, sources from which revenue to fund government programs are actually reduced in the writing off process. A lieu way could have been opted for to ensure that government gets a percentage of these outstanding debt. Abjectly, couldn't the government think of letting these business pay in installments, couldn't investigations be made into ascertaining the reasons for not complying to tax demands by these defaulting businesses?

In this case, Uganda Revenue Authority ought to rethink, restructure and restrategize approaches to ensure that creative and feasible avenues of collecting revenue are initiated - a challenge many Revenue bodies across the East African Community countries have failed to address fully

Uganda Revenue Authority is meant to raise almost 70% of the amount of funds (monies) Government is meant to spend in all Sectors including Health, Education and Water. With due respect and credit, the tax agency has done an incredible job although deterred by malfeasance and fraud. With the quality of service delivery dropping every passing month, shouldn't we as a Nation continue to raise funds to invest to the failing sectors instead of reducing means through which revenue is collected?

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