Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has confirmed a net revenue collection of Shs. 9,042.01 billion and posted growth in revenue of 11.15 per cent in comparison to the same period in the financial year 2018/19.
In real terms, this reflects growth in revenue of Shs. 907.05 billion. It should be noted however that the overturn is short of the projected figure of Shs. 9,739.39 billion by Shs. 697.38 billion
While addressing the media at the URA headquarters in Nakawa, Doris Akol the Commissioner-General said they have however witnessed an underperformance in VAT attributed to a lower tax outturn on goods like beer, phone calls, sugar but registered positive growth in corporation tax.
“Total domestic revenue collections during the period of July to December 2019 were Shs. 5,673.57 billion against a target of Shs. 6,109.66 billion. This outturn in domestic revenue reflects the growth of Shs. 831.91 billion (17.18%) compared to the period of July to December 2018.
“We have witnessed underperformance in VAT attributed to a lower than expected outturn of Shs. 92.02 billion on phone talk time, Shs. 38.27 billion on sugar, Shs. 28.62 Billion on beer and Shs. 41.32 billion from the wholesale and retail trade.
“However we have registered positive growth in corporation tax of Shs. 195.35 billion attributable to capital gains tax, which supplemented the collections from normal flows and arrears. Withholding tax also registered a positive outturn of Shs. 13.40 billion.
“The international trade tax collection during the period of July to December 2019 was Shs. 3,537.31 billion reflecting a suppressed growth in customs tax revenue of 2.80%.
“In real terms, this is an increase of Shs. 96.33 billion compared to the period from July to December 2018. This performance was mainly attributed to low outturn in import duty of Shs. 82.98 billion on VAT on imports of Shs. 135.80 billion on petroleum duty of Shs. 8.64 billion and an exercise duty of Shs. 27.21 billion,” said Akol.
On the reasons that attributed to the revenue performance for the period July to December 2019, the commissioner highlighted factors such as;
“Unusual growth in revenue targets, delayed implementation of some tax administrative and policy measures, revenue reducing measures that prevailed over revenue-enhancing measures, change in consumer taste and preferences for data as opposed to airtime, increase in the use of agency banking, low growth in the value of dutiable and vatiable imports, increasing trend of import substitution, the impact of regionalization among others.
“Levy on mobile money contributed a deficit of Shs. 30.48 billion which can be explained by the fact that high-value clients withdraw their funds from agency banking. A case in point, MTN has a drop of 36% in mobile money transaction values since the introduction of the levy on mobile money. In addition, other clients are adopting the use of mobile money as a mode of payment for services as opposed to withdrawing for cash,” Akol said in regards to using of agency banking as an attribute to revenue performance.
The commissioner highlighted on the implementation of the digital stamp and electronic fiscal devices saying they will help both taxpayers and URA to protect legitimate businesses against unfair competition.
“URA implemented electronic systems which will help to protect legitimate businesses against unfair competition, protect consumers against harmful products and improve livelihoods, stamp out illicit production and fight counterfeiting, real-time tax accounting and reconciliation for tax stamps and real-time enforcement and prosecution.”
In order to expand the tax base, the commissioner-general said they used third party information from KCCA and ministry of education to identify potential taxpayers for rental and income tax.
“At the beginning of this financial year, we received records of over 22,000 landlords from KCCA that were not registered for rental income tax.
“We have so far registered 1,853 rental taxpayers, the rental tax has so far grown by 13.21% yielding Shs. 56.81 billion in tax revenue,” said Akol.
On a special note, the commissioner general also tasked all potential political aspirants to acquire tax compliance certificates from URA which they will present to the electoral commission to allow them race for any political office.
URA also said that the issue of porous borders has been handled with two hands saying they have trained and increased on manpower at different border points but above all, they will employ drone cameras that will be set at all points and will be helpful to provide a live feed from border points to their control centres.
BY FRANK SEMATA