Reviving Economy: URA Incorporates The Blind In Tax Bracket

Reviving Economy: URA Incorporates The Blind In Tax Bracket

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By Felix Oketcho

In a move to include everyone in the tax bracket, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has introduced braille technology for visually impaired taxpayers, a move aimed at promoting a taxpaying culture through engaging the citizens, productive partnerships, leveraging technology, data and innovative staff.

Speaking at the launch of the braille technology, John Musinguzi Rujoki, URA Commissioner General, said the development is in line with the URA tax education strategy (FY 2020-25) which focuses on several segments, among which visually impaired taxpayers despite their need for special attention.

Musinguzi said URA finds it justifiable to use available opportunities and capacities so that the clients under this category do not feel left out.

He explained that the rationale of this inclusive tax education strategy leans on the provisions of the Equal Opportunities Commission Act, 2007.

“The technology targets taxpayers who are visually impaired but with the ability to read, write/type and understand braille system. The rationale of introducing braille technology in tax education is to simplify tax education and make it available for everyone regardless of their physical and health status,” Musinguzi explained.

Meanwhile, Francis Kinubi, the Chairperson of  Uganda National Association for the Blind (UNAB), welcomed the partnership but cautioned the tax body not to ignore other vulnerable groups citing that for instance the blind in this country are six million housing big group to collect taxes.

“You cannot ignore such a big number. We as UNAB want to appreciate Uganda Revenue Authority for everything. No wonder you are the first in partnering with us in launching this technology,” Kinubi stressed.

URA has an uphill task of collecting taxes from businesses and individuals that continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The Authority’s supervisors at the Ministry of Finance have set targets for him and appears not to bother much about the environment under which he operates.

In the just-concluded FY 2020/21, Musinguzi and his technical staff only managed to collect net revenue of Shs19.2tn, a 14.99% growth in comparison to the previous year. However, this is below the Shs21.6trillion target.

According to URA revenue records for the first quarter, the tax body collected net revenue of Shs 4.5 trillion in the first quarter of 2021/22 financial year.

The growth in revenue is attributed to URA’ administrative initiatives like arrears management which resulted in a revenue recovery of Shs 322.63 Billion. Having achieved 14.99% growth in revenue collection URA is expected to collect Shs 22.3 trillion in the FY 2021/22. The projection is Shs 3.1 trillion over and above last year’s revenue collections.

Musinguzi noted that the domestic revenue collections stood at Shs 2.6 trillion and hence registered a growth of 8.11 per cent (Shs 199.10 billion) compared to last financial year.

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