Mr. Kamajugo, Commissioner Customs and Bonds, Uganda Revenue Authority, informed delegates that URA was formed in 1992 to collect government reserve and to ensure sustainable service delivery by government. He said infrastructure development has come out very clearly as one of the areas of investment which require funding and most of the funding comes from the taxes that are paid. He emphasised that development cannot be achieved without taxes.
He said URA has made huge investment so as to provide information about taxes and to make it easy and convenient for the tax payers to pay taxes.
“Uganda is a land locked country and efforts are being made to develop Uganda into a trade and distribution hub in the region, which requires that procedures and processes be put in place to encourage people to trade within the region using Uganda as a base.” The Commissioner emphasised. He reported that there have been major improvements in the region, infrastructure investment services, improvement of the railway and road infrastructure as a region to ensure that the whole chain is seamless.
Mr.Kamajugo informed delegates that the cost of doing business has steadily been reduced in terms of the time it takes to move goods through the process and also focus on compliance is very critical. He reiterated that sharing compliance information between federated states is being undertaken to accord compliance companies with similar treatment. “Six months ago a process that would take 15days to clear goods from Mombasa has been reduced to five days, with huge investment in automation.” He reported. He informed delegates that URA has improved service delivery and accountability and encouraged people in the Diaspora to visit URA website www.ura.co.ug for information to guide them to avoid misinformation by relatives and friends. He said there is need for systems to update them by email, SMS to boost confidence in using the systems that are put in place. Due to this confidence in the URA system, Mr Kamajugo reported that URA is able to collect 80% of the government budget and some of the government projects are financed through locally generated funds.
As he concluded his speech, the Commissioner shared that their observation in the forum was that people lack information. He ended by informing the delegates that before the budget process, normally consultations are carried out with various institutions and that they will work with the organisers of the convention to explore ways of receiving views from Ugandans in the Diaspora as input in the budget process.
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