URA CROWNS CITI BANK AS TOP TAXPAYER

BY FLORENCE NAMUGANZA

CITI Bank (U) Limited scooped the Excel Award at the 16th Taxpayer Appreciation Awards ceremony held at Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) headquarters in Nakawa last Friday. The annual awards are aimed recognising top consistent compliant taxpayers throughout the country.

This year’s ceremony was distinctive from the previous events as 40 from 18 taxpayers were rewarded as URA marked 30 years of existence. New categories of Trailblazer and Lifetime Achievers awards were introduced this year. The Trailblazer category was designed to recognise taxpayers who have consistently adapted earliest to URA initiatives while the Lifetime Achiever award went to former URA leaders who made outstanding contributions towards the transformation of the Authority.

This year’s ceremony was distinctive from the previous events as 40 from 18 taxpayers were rewarded as URA marked 30 years of existence. New categories of Trailblazer and Lifetime Achievers awards were introduced this year. The Trailblazer category was designed to recognise taxpayers who have consistently adapted earliest to URA initiatives while the Lifetime Achiever award went to former URA leaders who made outstanding contributions towards the transformation of the Authority.

Eco Bank, United Bank for Africa (U) Limited, Spedag Interfreight (U) Limited and Nice House of Plastics were recognised as the pioneer Trailblazer awardees. Eco Bank was notably profiled for being the pioneer e-partner bank following the introduction of the E-tax in 2009. The bank championed the integration and accounted for 30% of the total revenue collections through the system and has continued to reliably offer the service since.

Former URA members of top management including former board members were recognised for setting a blueprint for the institution as we know it today. These included former Commissioners General Allen Kagina, Doris Akol, Elly Rwakakooko and Justin Zaake. Former board members Gerald Ssendaula and Keith Muhakanizi were recognised for their vehement support in boosting domestic revenue mobilisation and modernisation of practices in revenue administration.

Mrs. Allen Kagina (L) receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from Finance Minister Kasaija (R)

From the public service sector, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) was recognised for being a model government institution in tax compliance.  MUST was recognised for excellent accounting practices especially on Pay As You Earn and Withholding Tax heads. In the same category, Mbale District Local Government was awarded for exemplary tax filing timelines and good working relationship with URA.

Speaking at the event, the Guest of Honour, the Minister of Finance planning and Economic Development, Hon.  Matia Kasaija echoed the need for voluntary compliance. He noted that taxes are important because the loans he keeps approving on behalf of government to fund the budget are not good for the economy.

“By declaring and paying your taxes, you are directly investing in your business. This is because when you give me taxes, I do a number of things that enable you to expand and even make your business profitable,” said Kasaija.

Spedag Interfreight’s Abert Mwebembezi receives a plaque from Hon. Beatrice Akello Akori

URA’s Commissioner General John Rujoki Musinguzi, rallied the public to join the noble effort of paying their due taxes for the country to achieve economic independence.

He said: “we are still unable to fund our national expenditure, we are funding just over 50% of our national budget from the domestic resources. This means therefore, that we need to do much more.”

Present at the function were State Finance Minister in charge of General Duties, Hon. Henry Musasizi and the State Minister for Privatisation, Hon. Evelyn Anite whose Confidential Hdotel was recognised for compliance in the West Nile region. Also mention other state ministers who were in attendance.

The Taxpayer Appreciation awards mark the end of the Taxpayer Appreciation Season, an annual period that starts in September where URA recognises, rewards complaint taxpayers and also gives back to the public through Corporate Social Responsibility activities throughout the country.

Award winners posing for a photo

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