Meeting with Uganda Revenue Authority
Discussed in the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Entreprises on November 20th, 2014
The meeting was held to hear the responses to queries that arose in the auditor General’s report of 2013. The meeting was chaired by Hon Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda and the procession from URA was led by Commissioner General Ms Doris Akol. Members asked the authority general questions that included;
The issue of pioneer easy buses that the authority impounded and parked at Namboole. MPs wanted to know why the buses were not running in order to generate money to pay off their creditors instead of staying parked. Management told the committee that the buses had been given permission to operate in March the decision not to, was entirely that of the Pioneer easy bus management.
The committee also wanted to know why URA did not pay for the premises they occupy at the airport belonging to civil Aviation Authority. Ms Akol asserted that the law states that they are not supposed to pay rent in the gazetted customs area, and which ever office space out of this jurisdiction they have moved out of.
In the audit carried out, the following queries arose;
Bank balances worth UGX 196 billion were reported, accompanying this were inactive accounts with a balance of UGX 365 million. Management blamed the issue on the hackers who compromised their system, they however said they had upgraded their systems to avert such a risk. They told the committee that none of their staff had been incriminated by the investigation.
The Authority also had outstanding arrears to NSSF worth UGX 7.4 billion. Initially it was agreed that UGX 1 billion is paid annually by the authority but it did not honor this agreement and the liability now stood at UGX 8 billion. Management insisted it was a misunderstanding that they had rectified it.
The audit also reported that URA hadn’t registered licensed gaming and pool businesses. Management told the committee that they were working together with the board to rectify the issues. There was also a bill in place to amend procedures for gaming and pool betting businesses.
It was also noted in the report that some companies mainly Government owned agencies, ministries and local governments. Taxes worth UGX 12 billion were remitted by these agencies but could not be traced on e-Tax registers. Management said these companies were finding it hard to transition to the new tax system and were still remitting manually. They however are working on a way to include these agencies on the online register but after sorting their documents out. On the other hand UGX 3 billion was paid by URA to contractors and suppliers but was not fully accounted for in URA’s records.
It was also noted by the audit that the Government owed URA taxes worth UGX 6.9 billion dating way back to 2006. It came to the knowledge of the committee that the ministry of finance had instructed URA to waiver the accumulated taxes.
Last but not least the audit recorded uncollected taxes worth 1 billion from imports. Government agencies received the imports but had not submitted Tax Payments Commitment Forms to treasury to enable processing of tax payments.
Other issues included unfiled returns, implementation of tax investigation findings, tax evasion, and failure to trace a tax payer.
Before the chairperson brought the meeting to a close, he instructed the management avail all necessary correspondences to the committee