Kampala. After closing the financial year 201415 with the biggest surplus ever, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is yet to get its cash bonus government promised earlier.
The tax collectors closed the year on a high after registering surplus of Shs139 billion, the biggest excess ever recorded in the history of the tax body.
The surplus raises optimism that the current revenue collection targets of Shs11 trillion is not beyond reach.
URA had posted a Shs500b shortfall in 201314 and Shs150b shortfall in 201213. This was after a Shs39b surplus in 201112.
Last week, after touring the URA building under construction, whose budget has also been eroded as a result of the recent depreciation of the Shilling against the dollar, senior URA managers met Finance minister Matia Kasaija and reminded him about the government’s commitment to reward those who have impressively performed.
“We worked day and night. We rallied all our staff towards the same cause. And the result was the surplus we collected. We now hope you will deliver good message to us—declare bonus,” the commissioner for customs, Mr Dicksons Kateshumbwa, told the minister.
In response, Mr Kasaija said: “My hands are tied, but we will have it in the next financial year’s budget. Once that is done you will have your ka thing—bonus.”
He later told the staff in a meeting that he is committed to ensuring the tax collectors are appreciated and rewarded handsomely for what he describes as very good work.
If his commitment comes through, it means the staff will be each entitled to at least a bonus equivalent to one month salary.
In a separate interview, Mr Kateshumbwa said it is the responsibility of the government to commit itself in this matter because it is part of its obligation especially in a situation where exemplary work has been done.
It also emerged that the tax collectors needed at least 500 more staff at a cost of about Shs28 billion.
The returns, return according to Mr Kateshumbwa, would be as high as Shs670billion.
The 500 additional staff will be deployed across the country considering that the tax collectors are only available in 30 districts out of more than 100 bases. The number would also be used to bring on board the large informal segment into taxable bracket.
Currently, URA employs nearly 2400 people.
In the financial year 201415 (running from July 2014 to June 2015), the tax body was expected to collect Shs9.5 trillion, representing a growth of 19 per cent from the Shs8 trillion collected in 201314.
URA revenue performance in recent financial years
Amount of surplus Uganda Revenue Authority registered in financial year 201415
Amount of shortfall Uganda Revenue Authority registered in financial year 201314
Amount of shortfall Uganda Revenue Authority registered in financial year 201213
Amount of surplus Uganda Revenue Authority registered in financial year 201112
Incentive. Tax body wants to be rewarded for the surplus posted last financial year.