URA posts Shs5.40bn surplus in revenues

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Doris Akol, the Commissioner General

Uganda Revenue Authority [URA] in the period July 2016 to March 2017 was able to collect Shs9,238.91 billion, a contribution of 70.11% to the annual target and registered a growth in revenue of 13.51% (UGX 1,099.85 billion) compared to the same period last financial year.

This is contained in a report chronicling URA’s performance from July 2016 to March 2017, availed to the media by Doris Akol, the Commissioner General, during a press briefing at the authority’s headquarters in Nakawa.

According to the report, in the fiscal year 2016/17, URA was given a net revenue target of UGX 13,177.15Bn based on a set of macro-economic assumptions.

“In the month of March 2017, net revenue collected was UGX 1,070.43 billion, posting a surplus of UGX 5.40 billion and a growth of 13.07% compared to March 2016,” Akol told press.

She said this reduced the cumulative deficit to UGX 240.20 billion.

“During this period Domestic taxes collections posted a surplus of UGX 28.60 billion over the period, this was wiped out by the deficit of UGX 253.23 billion registered in international trade collections.”

Domestic taxes contributed 57.17% to the collections while 42.84% was collected from international trade taxes.

“In the east African region, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) is the only revenue authority that performed above target during the period July- March 2017.”

She said URA’s revenue to target collection of 97.40% is above the regional average revenue performance of 96.69%.

RRA and URA are the only revenue authorities that performed above target under the domestic department.

“Construction and operationalisation of One Stop Border Posts (OSBP) was completed at four border points namely Malaba, Mutukula, Busia, and Mirama Hills during the Financial Year 2015/2016,” she pointed out.

Construction of OSBPs is on-going at two border points of Katuna and Elegu.

The Customs Department reengineered the Customs Clearance procedures by implementing a Centralised Document Processing Centre (DPC) on November 25th , 2016 in a phased approach by; a) Receiving declarations online and processing them while relying on the scanned attached documents. b) Dedicating a team of all round experienced customs staff to man the DPC. c) Isolating the DPC team from distractions/disruptions and to create a high productivity environment.

Unlike in the past when the exercise was entirely manual, this year, a comprehensive review of the licensing process was introduced. The reforms include the following; i.Online application and vetting of applicants ii.Physical premises and equipment inspection by impartial teams iii.Competency tests iv.Thorough Individual and Company compliance checks Henceforth, there are key performance indicators that URA is using to monitor the operations of the clearing agents and also ensure that the services provided are compliant with the agreed standards.

Due to several attempts of transit diversion (dumping) of goods hitherto declared for transit, we undertook an initiative to have the validation of transit goods removed from field officers to be done centrally by a virtual team.

Championed by URA and launched on 4th November 2016, the Electronic Single Window aims to provide a platform on which all parties involved in trade and transport can lodge standardized information and documents at a single point to fulfil all import, export, and transit -related regulatory requirements. This enables them to get requisite permits.

According to Akol, URA has conducted hands-on training from compliance management and risk based audits. For the period July 2016 to March 2017, a total of 1,382 cases were audited with an assessment of UGX 189Bn.

“We enforced on arrears collection and recovered UGX 201.83 through the rollout of debt collection module to electronically monitor and manage arrears, issuance of agency notices and customs liens and allowing instalment payment option,” Akol said.

She noted that administrative measures to enhance collections in remaining period of FY 2016/17.

In an effort to collect the remaining 29.89% of the annual target (UGX 3,938.65 billion) in the period from April to June 2017, the following strategies have been developed for international trade and domestic tax collections respectively, she explained.