Sunday, July 25, 2010

Terms in office which are re-newed when the Government term is expiring need to be addressed

As Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) gets new Board where former Minister Gerald Ssendaula has been named the new head of URABoard of directors, what is not clear is the way a Government lessthan a year now in office choosing a Boardwhich is to be in office for 6 years more than the term ofoffice of the coming Government. There is need to address this as it not only irregular, but shouldsimply not be acceptable. AGovernment whose term isexpiring soon should not have such mandate.

William Kituuka

Ex-minister Ssendaula to head URA board - Source:
By Faridah Kulabako
Posted Tuesday, July 20 2010 at 00:42
Former Finance Minister Gerald Ssendaula has been appointed new head of the Uganda Revenue Authority board of directors for a six-year term.
Mr Ssendaula, who is also the chairman of Private Sector Foundation Uganda, will serve with five other officials.
Other directors are Mr Juma Kisaame, the managing director DFCU Bank, Ms Theodora Mondo who lectures information technology at Mbarara University, Ms Allen Kagina, the URA commissioner general, Mr Julius Onen, the permanent secretary ministry of trade and Secretary to the Treasury Chris Kassami.
Inaugurating the new board at her office in Kampala yesterday, the Minister of Finance, Ms Syda Bbumba, told the team to introduce more efficiency enhancement measures that will enable URA do “more with less”.
“You have come in at a time when the government is emphasising the need for greater compliance, efficiency in revenue collection and greater vigilance against fraud related activities,” she said. “I expect you to continue with the objectives of curbing tax evasion to control revenue leakages.”
The board takes over from Mr Ibrahim Kabanda’s team, which served from 2004.
She said the reforms undertook during Mr Kabanda’s tenure grew revenue collections by 125 per cent while local revenue contribution to the national budget rose from 56 per cent in 2003/4 to 66 per cent in 2009/10.
The GDP ratio grew from 11.8 per cent during the same period to 12.5 per cent in 2009/10.
“Even when set targets were not met, the system has been able to yield increases in tax revenues year after year,” Ms Bbumba said.
The revenue body fell short of its 2009/10 revenue targets of Shs4,474.4b by Shs160b.
Fresh ideas
But Ms Bbumba said there was need to increase the revenue per GDP ratio from 12.5 per cent to 18 per cent and beyond. Although increasing tax rates is impossible under the Common Market setting, the minister said additional revenue can be realised by improving economic incentives to taxpayers for greater compliance, widening the tax base and reducing the cost of administering the tax system.
Mr Ssendaula said the new team will work together with the ministry of finance to improve the tax base and increase revenue collection.

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