Uganda Revenue Authority compliance campaign spreads to extractives sector

Tullow oil well in Bulisa

It is arguably the next industry that every Ugandan is observing; and for Uganda Revenue Authority, the mining and quarrying industry is one to court.

 

In a stakeholders’ engagement held at Silver Springs hotel in Bugolobi, Patrick Mukiibi, the Commissioner Tax Investigations, noted that the engagement was organised to educate the participants from the industry on the URA services and processes and ensuring that they are understood and made accessible to the sector to ensure compliance.

 

Organised in partnership with the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) and the Department of Geological Survey and Mines in the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the campaign was intended to awaken the taxpayer compliance drive in the industry.

 

The first arrangement of its kind with the industry attracted a number of mining institutions and other stakeholders that included Neptune Petroleum, Hima Cement, Victoria Equipment and Petroleum Skills Uganda Ltd. The CNOOC, Total E&P, Tullow oil, Alam Group, Galactic Minerals and Oryx Minerals were also present. The others were Epsilon (U) Ltd, Sino Minerals, Halliburton, UMA, GCC Services, Deloitte, and Ernst and Young.

 

It is the tax body’s responsibility to ensure that all business entities are identified and informed about the compliance challenges identified in their specific industries in terms of registration, filing, declaration and payment and the consequences of defaulting on such processes.

 

Meanwhile, from the data gathered, URA observed that 259 players in this industry were registered by May this year; a growth in registration figures from 196 registered by June 30, 2012. However, citing Corporation tax, Alex Nuwagira, the supervisor Investigation and Intelligence in URA’s Tax Investigation department, observed that there were less returns and about 170 firms and individuals of the 196 that registered by June 30, 2012 did not file their returns by last financial year.

 

Nuwagira assured the participants of continued guidance through the appropriate processes, systems and tax education to ensure that there is a structured direction to facilitate compliance.

 

“We are available to assist you by making our processes better and organising similar engagements to achieve compliance,” noted Nuwagira.

 

Richard Kaijuka, the Vice Chairman of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, credited URA’s efforts of working with the industry.

 

“I want to appreciate URA for this workshop. I hope such engagements are sustained so that everyone complies,” Kaijuka said.

 

Godfrey Ssali, a Risk and Advocacy officer from Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), advised the industry players to establish formal collaborations with the association to form a better negotiating and tax facilitation position. This, according to him, reduces the costs of doing business and other repercussions that may arise due to non-compliance.

 

This financial year, URA targeted the bottled water industry, the fruit juice industry, the precious minerals industry and the telecommunication industry for holistic compliance engagements. This is on the basis that a highly compliant population will positively affect tax administration through reaping from the benefits that come with it, while a low compliant population will negatively affect tax administration.

 

The author Allan Ssempebwa Kyobe works with URA’s Public and Corporate Affairs department.

 

This article was first published in the Observer

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