President Yoweri Museveni has urged Ugandans to take pride in paying taxes as a way of demonstrating love and commitment to secure Uganda’s independence by moving away from donor dependence.
President said Government was fully committed to supporting Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) in the execution of the critical role of improving domestic revenue mobilization to finance the national budget.
“The target of government is to see a greater percentage of the development expenditure financed by internally generated revenue as well as to see out tax to GDP ratio grow from the current 12.83% to 16% over the next 4 years,” said Museveni.
He said the growth in revenues will unlock the growth potential of Uganda’s economy, reduce donor dependence and also increase development in infrastructure, education and health.
President Museveni’s remarks were made on his behalf by the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda who represented him on the occasion of the Taxpayers appreciation day 2014/2015 dubbed ‘Omugano gwa URA’ at Namboole Stadium on Sunday.
“I therefore call upon all eligible taxpayers to comply with legislative and administrative reforms so that we are able to increase our tax to GDP ratio and hence reduce the public debt,” said Museveni.
The theme for this year’s taxpayer’s appreciation day was “Let’s grow together” which is in line with government’s aspirations to facilitate business growth.
“I salute the efforts and strategy of URA on formalizing the informal sector,” the President said adding that Government will give the support needed especially in the area of policy and legislative reforms to support the drive.
He said the informal sector contributes approximately 52.4% of GDP while employees who constitute about 70-80% of the labour force contribute only 38.4% of the region’s GDP.
Quoting from one of the greatest African leaders, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Museveni said “Independence cannot be real if a nation depends upon gifts.”
Some of the award winners in various categories at the 11th annual taxpayers’ appreciation awards included Jubilee Insurance Company, Igongo cultural Centre, Alliance One Tobacco, Vision group and JSI research and training Institute among others.
The Chairman URA Board, Gerald Sendawula thanked the committed taxpaying community for embracing a culture of voluntary compliance and paying their taxes in a timely manner.
He said payment of tax was recognized in both the Bible and Quran, adding that all persons who earn should contribute to the development of the nation and should guard against evading taxes.
The Commissioner General, URA Doris Akol said URA posted a record surplus in revenue collections of 139.22billion shillings in Financial year 2014/2015,the largest surplus realized so far in the history of URA.
Revenue collection has grown over the years from 5 billion shillings in 1986 to 9.7 trillion shillings in 2015.