URA widens tax base as over 400,000 new taxpayers are added to the tax payers register

by Business Times
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The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has registered a 17.19% increase in new tax payers who have been added to the tax payers register between July and December 2022.

Addressing the press on the body’s half-year performance, URA Commissioner General John Musinguzi Rujoki noted that 449,975 new taxpayers exceeded their targeted growth of 8.50%.

URA Commissioner General John Musinguzi Rujoki(PHOTO/Courtesy)

“By 31st December 2022, the taxpayer register had 3,067,983 taxpayers. Of these, 180,486 were non-individuals and 2,887,497 were individual taxpayers,” he told journalists.

He attributed the performance to key initiatives like tax education and sensitization, Taxpayer Register Expansion Program (TREP), Analysis of Data, stakeholder engagements and usage of the Tujenge Uganda mobile tax offices to reach our taxpayers.

URA attributes registration performace to key initiatives among otherse tax education and sensitization(PHOTO/Courtesy)

Additionally, URA announced a substantial growth in revenue of UGX 1,506.83 billion (14.83%) for the first six months of 2022/23 Financial Year compared to the same period last Financial Year 2021/22.

Musinguzi said that although they collected UGX 11,670.03 billion (46.40%) against the expected target of UGX 11,764.83 billion representing (46.78%) of the annual target, there was an increase. The taxman is expected to collect UGX 25,151.57 Billion out of the national budget of UGX 49,990 Billion.

According to Mr. Rujoki, the wholesale and retail trade sector had the biggest contribution of UGX 3,300.86 billion (27.68%).

Other best performers included the manufacturing sector with UGX 2,702.90 billion (22.67%), the financial activities followed with UGX 1,225.02 billion (10.27%), the Information and communication sector contributed UGX 824.85 billion (6.92%) whereas Public administration, defence, compulsory social security contributed UGX 453.81 billion (3,81%).


The performance indicates that Gross Domestic revenue collections were UGX 7,470.03 billion against a target of UGX 7,450.71 billion, resulting in a slight surplus of UGX 19.32 billion. This represents a performance of 100.26% and subsequently, a growth of UGX 1,240.35 billion (19.91%) compared to the same period last Financial Year of 2021/22.

The CG also noted that direct domestic taxes registered a surplus of UGX 84.74 billion, Non-tax revenue posted a surplus of UGX 171.08 billion while indirect domestic taxes posted a shortfall of UGX 236.50 billion.

“Major surpluses were registered in PAYE (UGX 225.85 billion), casino tax (UGX 29.33 billion), rental tax (UGX 17.06 billion) and tax on bank interest (UGX 8.80 billion),” he said on Tuesday at the authority’s headquarters.

On the other hand, the performance shows shortfalls in withholding (UGX 63.78 billion), Corporate tax (UGX 59.08 billion), and treasury bills (UGX 39.31 billion).

Mr. Rujoki attributed the Domestic Taxes performance to:

The PAYE performance – due to growth in the wage bill witnessed by companies whose PAYE increased due to increased staff numbers and arrear management recovery initiatives. Bonus and gratuity payments by some companies to their staff also resulted into extra PAYE,

Increase in rental income tax – attributed to enhanced compliance initiatives such as deployment of the Rental Tax Compliance System, intensified field inspections and close monitoring of the arrears rental portfolio.

“Also, this sector is recovering as companies are increasing the supply of prime office space due to the economy’s full operationalization and people returning from the arrangement of working from home,” he noted.

The shortfall in Withholding tax, he says is partly due to reduced budget releases for the various Government entities for Quarter one and Quarter two, preventing them from paying some of their suppliers.

Uganda’s Imports

The country’s imports, according amounted to UGX 15,113.86 billion posting a growth of 19.04% (UGX 2,417.27 billion) compared to the same period last financial year.

“The top imported items that registered an increase were gold, palm oil, medicaments, wheat/meslin, persons motor vehicles, polymers, polyethers, motorcycles, insecticides, worn clothing and rolled iron/non-alloy steel among others,” said Mr. Commissioner General.

“Noticeable reductions in imports were in vaccines, Portland cement, goods motor vehicle, rice, sorting machinery, the flat rolled product of alloy steel, new pneumatic tyres, and other footwear among others,” he said, adding that the top five sources of Uganda’s imports were China, India, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Japan.

Uganda’s Exports 

On the other hand, Uganda’s exports to the rest of the world amounted to UGX 4,235.74 billion. This was an increase of 7.13% (UGX 281.75 billion) compared to the same period last financial year. URA attributed the significant growth of exports to improved economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accordingly, the top exported items were; coffee, tea, beet sugar, iron/steel bars, wheat/meslin, salted/dry fish, mineral waters, other manufactured tobacco, grain sorghum, brans/sharps, other residue Viner sheets among others.

Rujoki noted that a decrease in exports was registered in fish fillets, mushrooms, cocoa beans, milk and cream, rolled iron/non-alloy steel, dried leguminous vegetables, articles of plastics and beauty make-up.

The country’s 5-leading export destinations were South Sudan, Italy, DRC, Kenya, and Germany.

Uganda’s Re-exports

Also, Uganda re-exported items including; palm oil, bulldozers, goods motor vehicle, persons motor vehicles, wheat/meslin, bread/pasty cakes, tractors, prepared tomatoes and petroleum oils among others whose contribution amounted to UGX735.15 billion, registering an increment of 8.99% (UGX 60.02 billion) compared to same period last financial year.

The Commissioner General also launched the new Client Relationship Management system – a tool intended at helping the body improve its client dialog, build a high-performing organization and enhance the culture of accountability and integrity.

Key highlights and reasons for Customs Revenue Performance

The good performance of import duty is attributed to an increase in imports of goods that attract import duty. For example; personal motor vehicles increased by UGX 113.06 billion, worn clothing increased by UGX 29.39 billion, palm oil increased by UGX 97.30 billion, wheat/meslin increased by UGX 170.46 billion, motorcycles increased by UGX 40.98 billion and petroleum oils increased by UGX 17.80 billion among others.

The surcharge on imports was due to the increase in tax paid by key imported items like; personal motor vehicles by (UGX 3.69 billion), worn clothing by (UGX 2.74 billion), passenger motor vehicles by (UGX 0.12 billion), motorcycles by (UGX 0.05 billion) and electric space/water heaters by (UGX 0.01 billion)

Performance of petroleum duty was affected by reduction in diesel and Kerosene fuel import volumes by 8.07% (41.54 million litres) and 9.79% (2.46 million litres) respectively. Much as there was overall growth in fuel volumes by 4.2% (45.68 million litres) precipitated by growth in petrol by 12.98% (63.87 million litres), this didn’t offset the decline in diesel and kerosene.

Performance of petroleum duty was affected by reduction in diesel and kerosene import volumes(PHOTO/Courtesy)

In addition, petrol stations did not perform as expected because of the importation of fuel through Tanzania in preparation for the August 2022 election in Kenya. The fuel was purchased expensively due to the increase in the cost of transportation but had to be sold at a loss as the international oil prices declined during the same period, which affected the profit margin. This created a contraction behaviour in the subsequent months.

Other shortfalls in international trade tax collections were due to major decreases in the tax yield registered in imported goods like; goods motor vehicle, Portland cement, new pneumatic tyres, beet sugar, a flat rolled product of alloy steel, iron/steel bars and un-denatured ethyl alcohol among others.

Increase in the import goods that enjoy preferential treatment and exemption like; the semi-finished product of alloy steel worth UGX 82.83 billion, other furnishing articles of UGX 82.87 billion and cleaning/milling machinery worth UGX 38.44 billion among others that paid less than expected revenue.

Twenty sectors registered growth in revenue compared to the same period last year as shown below.

a) Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcy- cles and Manufacturing registered the highest absolute growth of UGX 289.54 billion (12.00%) and UGX 269.85 billion (8.90%) re- spectively.

b) The arts, entertainment and recreation sector had the highest pro portionate growth of UGX 69.60 billion (186.25%).

c) The Education sector with UGX 65.58 billion (47.73%).

d) Construction sector with UGX 86.25 billion (44.13%).

e) The biggest decline was in the Mining and quarrying with UGX 10.70 billion (7.06%) and the Information and communication sec- tor with UGX 56.12 billion (6.37%).

With the recovery of the economy from the global COVID-19 pandemic, the arts, entertainment and recreation sector, accommodation and food service activities sector and construction sector have continued to register significant growth.

The growth in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector, was mainly due to gambling and betting activities that grew by UGX 35.25 billion (86.69%) and the creative, arts and entertainment activities by UGX3.37 billion (52.68%),

The growth in the accommodation and food service activities sector is mainly from short term accommodation activities that grew by UGX 27.70 billion (78.05%) and Botanical and zoological gardens and na- ture reserves activities with UGX 12.25 billion (328.44%) compared to the same period last financial year.

Administrative Interventions applied in the period under review important to note is there were no new policy measures introduced by Government to increase revenue yield, but rather the expected revenue growth is to come from administrative measures that will enhance compliance, improve processes, and boost the effectiveness of tax ad- ministration.

ALSO READ: Taxing the Digital Economy, is URA ready?

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