URA’s Musinguzi full speech at URA taxpayers appreciation awards ceremony

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Full Speech: URA’s Musinguzi at the taxpayers appreciation awards ceremony .

I bless and thank God for the gift of another day. It is a great honor
for me to be with you this morning as I host my first Taxpayers
Appreciation Awards Ceremony.

Thank you all for honoring our invitation to this occasion despite the
challenges associated with physical interactions due to the COVID 19 pandemic.


This year’s Tax Appreciation season was launched on the 13th day of
October, 2020 and we have since then been privileged to physically
visit and appreciate some of our taxpayers and key stakeholders.

We have had very informative online business support discussions.
Today, we gather to celebrate and appreciate “YOU” our distinguished
taxpayers who voluntarily adhered to your tax obligations throughout
the financial year 2019/2020.


Your compliance is a testament of your devotion to your country.
You are indeed our economic heroes and we celebrate you.


I also commend the government for creating a conducive environment
and for keeping the economy running particularly for allowing the
inflow of goods, encouraging food production and sensitizing the
public about the pandemic and the need to observe SOPs.


The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that in every challenge, there
is an opportunity. At URA we are fully aware of the impact that the
pandemic has had on businesses, but also that the solutions to dust
ourselves up are within us as a nation.


Because of you, and the Government’s efforts, we were able to
perform well during the period July – November, 2020 and we cannot
thank you enough for making a positive contribution towards
developing our Nation by fulfilling your tax obligations.

At URA, we have renewed our commitment to leading Uganda to
economic self-sufficiency status and we appeal to you all our
esteemed taxpayers to commit to take this journey with us.

Our aspiration is to mobilize enough revenue for national development.
We are deliberately reviewing, reforming, and revamping the way we
have been working. A number of initiatives have been implemented
to enable us transform the way we work and offer a better service to
our clients.


Over the years, there has been revenue growth year-on-year and we
thank God for this achievement. However, despite this growth,
Uganda is still unable to fully fund her national expenditure. We are
currently funding 47% of the national budget and are therefore left
to turn to external borrowing which often has a lot of unfavorable
terms and conditions.


Our Tax to GDP ratio is still at a paltry 13%. This is below the average
sub-Saharan African performance of 16%.
• Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average is 34.3%.

• Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) average is 23.1%

• Morocco, Seychelles, South Africa and Tunisia – are at more than 25% Tax to GDP ratio.

For Uganda to attain self-sufficiency, we need to at least double our Tax to GDP ratio from the current 13% to 26% and I believe it can be attained.

Therefore, we are here today to recognize and appreciate our most
compliant taxpayers as our champions in this struggle for economic
independence.

We call upon all other taxpayers to emulate you so that we have a critical mass that can transform the nation.


At URA we are instituting mechanisms through which all qualifying
citizens and economic players shall be able to make their fair contribution to the revenue basket and these are all within the ambit of the Domestic Resource Mobilization Strategy.


To this end we are implementing several compliance enhancement
initiatives such as;


• Encouraging taxpayers to embrace the voluntary disclosure
avenue by doing a tax health check and cleaning their tax
accounts with us without being penalized. Isaiah 1:18-20.


• We have adopted the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution to
amicably resolve tax disputes with taxpayers.


• We are also collaborating with various stakeholders in the
private sector and government agencies especially in areas of
information exchange and system integrations to expand our
tax register and accurately assess tax.

• We have purposed to demystify the tax regime and make it easily understood by everyone, through aggressive and elaborate tax education programs aimed at equipping our taxpayers with knowledge of both their rights and obligations.


• We will continue to adopt the use of enabling technologies such
as artificial intelligence and data analytics to identify potential
revenue, and enhance the support to our taxpayers, use drones
in surveillance of our borders, and non-intrusive inspection
technologies to facilitate trade.

For instance, we have rolled out the Digital Tracking Solution and Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing System to improve the collection of Local Excise


Duty and VAT respectively.


• We are currently revamping our contact center that will enable
us to provide real time service support to our clients.


Coupled with technology, internally, we have equally re-committed
ourselves to be more efficient and transparent in what we do. We are
deliberately promoting accountability among our Staff. Going
forward, we will be guided by the values of Patriotism, Integrity,
and Professionalism.


We have also committed to skilling our staff and building specialized
tax capabilities in core business areas such as tax audits, tax
investigations, taxation of the digital economy, international
taxation, and data analytics to promote revenue generation and
enhanced voluntary compliance.


We are aware that the journey on which we have embarked is steep
and ambitious. However, we trust that together, and most
importantly by the Grace of God, we shall make it.


Once again, we are very grateful to you our taxpayers gathered here,
and those watching us via television, for championing our journey to
economic self-sufficiency.

We can only achieve this if we combine our efforts and therefore I call upon your continued collective collaboration, commitment and contribution towards this journey.


On our part as URA we further commit to supporting you our
taxpayers and I encourage you all to always approach us in case you
need any form of assistance.

Together we can make a positive contribution towards the development of our Country.


May God richly bless you all!
Thank you for listening to me.
For God and My Country