Parliament has called for sensitization of traders before the full implementation of the Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing System (EFRIS).
The House chaired by Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa on Wednesday adopted the report of the Committee on Tourism Trade and Industries recommending changes in the invoicing system.
According to the committee report presented by Chairperson, Mwine Mpaka, the implementation of the EFRIS by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) in May 2020 was meant to improve business efficiency and reduce costs of compliance through improved record keeping among taxpayers.
However, the committee observed that the system meant to mitigate tax administration shortfalls is hurting traders.
“This system was supposed to be installed in the trader's premises under the instruction of a consultant so that all transactions can be reflected on the URA systems. URA informed the committee that they undertook several engagements with individual businesses and associations in preparation for the implementation,” Mwine Mpaka said.
The committee noted that although the system will help URA in tax collection, traders need to be sensitized since it involves costs of hiring extra staff to run it.
“The committee recommends that URA extends the implementation of the EFRIS by not less than one year during which period, it should invest in education, publicity, sensitization and offering of technical support to all traders to effectively implement and utilize the system,” Mpaka said.
He added that the system sometimes faces network challenges that affect the sale of goods.
Some MPs however, proposed that government should instead install the system for the Traders.
Nakawa East Member of Parliament, Hon. Ronald Balimwezo said that several businesses are struggling and government needs to support them by installing the EFRIS.
“To cure this, let government procure these machines and install them for the people otherwise, we need to do a lot in making sure that we increase the tax base,” he said.
Allan Mayanja (NUP, Nakaseke Central) noted that the EFRIS machines are expensive to install and that URA has put a very high fine on people who do not have them.
The Minister of State for Finance Planning and Economic Development, Henry Musasizi appealed to the members to support the EFRIS saying it will help in revenue collection.
Otuke County MP, Paul Omara equally supported the system saying the country is struggling with raising revenue. He, however, said URA should take more time to educate people.
“I think this is one of the most innovative systems that URA has undertaken to broaden our tax base and to allow the loopholes in tax collection to be closed. I am a manufacturer and we have implemented this programme and we are doing well,” he said.
The committee also recommended that government establishes policies that limit discretion in the selection of companies receiving tax incentives and that it applies specific criteria for any company to become eligible for tax incentives in the Ugandan economy.