President Yoweri Museveni ordered the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) leadership to root out corruption so they can be able to collect the required revenue.
“The performance of the country’s revenue collection can be gauged by a universal yardstick, the GDP tax ratio. If our GDP is US$ 44 billion our budget now is 40 trillion. If you collect 20% of the GDP you get almost enough money to finance the budget,” Museveni said.
The President, who was accompanied by the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Janet Kataha Museveni, was this afternoon the Chief Guest at the thanksgiving ceremony organized by the Tax Body, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) that was celebrating her 30 years of existence.
The function that took place at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds was graced by religious leaders, former and current administrators of the tax body, among others.
President Museveni pointed out that the revenue collected today of Shs19 trillion is far below the needed funds to finance the country’s budget, leading to the tendency of borrowing internally and externally.
He noted that the leakage is caused by those entrusted with the duty to diligently collect revenue that they divert to their pockets through corruption.
“We shall expose those who steal the money. If you are honest you have a clear way forward in your life. You hear that I am now 77years. I have gone through a lot of difficulties, but if you are working for God and the people! Therefore eradicate Judaism (corruption),” he said.
Museveni informed the audience that the tax GDP was 4% and it gradually moved to 10 % after some reorganization of the tax institution and has now stagnated between 11 and 13% due to embezzlement of revenue collections.
President Museveni noted that the hemorrhage in tax collection is mainly rampant at the border points where goods brought into the country are either under or falsely declared due to the absence of scanners causing heavy losses in revenue collection.
“The problem with URA is arrogance. You try to guide them but they don’t act. Scanners or X-ray machines will eliminate smuggling of goods. Modern technology simplifies work but my people have been avoiding this technology for reasons best known to them," he said.
The President was however happy to learn that after his long struggle, the customs officials had finally acquired 39 scanners that will be used at border entry points.
The Chairman Board of Directors URA Juma Kisaame told the congregation that the tax body had matured and is now ready to take on the new journey after the 30 years of existence, with zeal and dedication for a brighter future.
Kisaame thanked President Museveni and all the stakeholders as well as taxpayers and development partners for the support accorded to them in the last 30 years.
The Commissioner-General of URA John Rujoki Musinguzi thanked President Museveni for establishing Uganda Revenue Authority and also appreciated the support by all taxpayers, stakeholders as well as the Ministry of Finance.