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Transparency key in taxation, URA boss says

KAMPALA- Kampala - The Commissioner General of Uganda Revenue Authority [URA] John Rojoki Musinguzi has underscored the importance of transparency and information sharing in achieving revenue targets.

While speaking at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD]Africa Initiative meeting in Nairobi, Kenya recently, Musinguzi noted that after intentional strategic planning, and increased mobilisation especially in the informal sector, URA has posted an increase in tax collections between 2014 and 2021.

He said that as a result of information sharing with partners, URA posted at least Shs 8.8 billion while in 2021 it collected Shs 259bln.

He told the African leaders involved in tax administration that transparency and accountability stood tall in the efforts to realize the positive trends in URA, especially in regard to the exchange of information amongst partners.

He said that transparency is key in achieving targets, but added that strategies and ground mobilisation should also be strengthened, especially in the informal sector which has low levels of financial trustworthiness.

“As a continent, we need to grow our countries’ domestic revenue dockets, we should embrace the exchange of information strategies aligned to the short, medium, and long-term development of our Countries,” he told the meeting.

The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Administration is held every year to provide a platform for tax administrators to share and improve service delivery while growing country targets.

The 11th African Initiative that was held in Nairobi, concluded with a concerted call on leaders to strategise and unlock the potential of tax transparency and exchange information to support mobilization in such hard times of the pandemic.

Emphasizing the role of exchange of information in domestic resource Mobilisation, Musinguzi noted that the authority was able to recoup a substantial return on investment into the programme shown in revenue growth.

“We consider exchange of information for tax purposes as key to the national domestic resource mobilization strategy. We expect that this will improve the compliance management of multinational enterprises and individuals along with the high net-worth businessmen,” he added.

In the Uganda National Development Plan [NDP], transparency and exchange of information have been adopted and classified as strategic interventions to enable national domestic resource mobilisation plans to thrive.

In the URA strategic corporate plan for a period of five years, the body prioritises resource mobilization, monitoring, and implementation of the exchange of information as a critical enabler for tax payer’s compliance and subsequent revenue growth.

The initiative that aims at tackling cross-border illicit trading and financial flows like tax evasion was formed in 2014 to enhance economic transparency network. Over the year, the URA has implemented the initiative making it one of the most efficient and progressive tax bureaucrats in Africa with high levels of compliance.

The OECD Africa Initiative is a regional programme formed to show the potential of tax transparency and exchange of information for African countries to exploit global transparency in the fight against illicit trade.

Apparently, the initiative works in 33 African states, co-chaired by the Commissioner General for Kenya Githi Mburu and Commissioner for South Africa Revenue Services Edward Kieswetter.

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