By Max Patrick Ocaido
PARLIAMENT. Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is seeking Shs5.71bn to fund the Special Meals Initiative that caters for basic lunch and tea for its staff.
The tax body introduced Special Meals initiative as part of the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) in 20l2/13, whose intention is to raise the staff productivity levels and provide consistent service to the taxpaying community.
However, the Parliamentary committee on Finance, Planning and Economic Development on the ministerial policy statement and budget estimates for the FY 2018/19 in its report notes that no funds have been provided to cater for the basic lunch and tea for staff in the FY20l8/19 across the organization.
The committee notes that scrapping meals at the tax body will be disastrous because customs operations across the country are on a 24 hour basis and this necessitates the facilitation of staff in form of meals to offer the required services.
“The impact of removal of this budget line will include among others closure of URA offices to enable staff to go back home for lunch for those working on the day shift as well as in the evening to enable staff on the evening shift to go home for dinner. Some of the customs border points don't have accommodation for staff nearby,” the report says.
“The Committee recommends that government provides Ush5.71 billion to enable URA provide meals to staff in order to motivate them and keep the offices open to collect revenue for the country.”
The Committee also recommends that government provides Shs2.91bn to enable the Authority conduct field activities necessary to collect revenue. In the FY 2017/18, URA recovered Shs28.51bn from 4,239 seizures done during enforcement operations.