On Tuesday 3rd September, 2019, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) launched this year’s Taxpayers Appreciation Month (TPAM) that will focus on the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The theme for this year is “Every Taxpayer Counts”.
During a presser at URA headquarters in Nakawa, Kampala, Doris Akol, the URA Commissioner General said this year’s theme (Every Taxpayer Counts) is hinged on the fact that irrespective of status-presumptive, medium or large taxpayer, everyone counts and makes a contribution to the economy.
“Therefore, our focus this year is the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the unsung heroes, who contribute immensely to our economy,” Akol said.
She added that TPAM will involve a series of activities to appreciate and recognize taxpayers.
According to URA, it categorizes SMEs as any business with a turnover not exceeding Shs2bn.
She also noted that recent studies show that SMEs contribute over 25% of Uganda’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employ about 45% of the labour force.
“The total number of SMEs on our register is 376,657. The majority are in the wholesale and retail trade sector,” she said.
The revenue contribution to the economy by SMEs in the past 3 years can’t be underestimated.
URA figures indicate that domestic revenue contribution has been recorded at Shs7.57 trillion, Shs9.08 trillion and Shs9.74 trillion in 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively.
SMEs’ tax contribution to the domestic revenue has been remarkable at Shs2.55 trillion, Shs3.03 trillion and Shs3.54 trillion in 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively. In terms of employment, URA says taxpayers in the SMEs category were employing 337, 099 people in 2016/17, 417, 652 in 2017/18 and 419 713 in 2018/19.
“Supporting SMEs boosts their growth, which would have a ripple effect on the entire country. We pledge to offer specialized taxpayer education services, knowledge and skills for effective business management, creating effective networking to name but a few,” Akol said.
Charity Tax Derby
In an attempt to extend URA’s CSR, on 20th September, 2019, URA is organizing a charity tax derby, a soccer match between URA and several CEOs. The Proceeds from this charity match will be used to support pupils of Bwama Primary School who cross Lake Bunyonyi in rickety canoes.
“We will buy for them safe motorized boats, life jackets and a water purification system. We urge the public to join us in this noble cause,” she said.
She added: “The TPAM grand finale on 27th September, 2019 will see us rewarding the compliant SMEs and exhibitors, who would have excelled at Kololo.”
The Planned Activities
As part of URA’s new focus of becoming a business enabler, Akol said the tax body will extend a free invitation to 1,000 most compliant SMEs to exhibit at Kololo Independence Grounds during the Taxpayers Appreciation Week (TPAW) from 25th – 27th September, 2019.
“This will offer them an opportunity to showcase their goods and services, make sales and networking opportunities,” she said, adding that alongside this will be the free daily Bomba Ya Business, specially designed lessons to impart free business skills for business growth and offer local and international trade opportunities.
“This is a special three-day curriculum facilitated by business management, trade, economists and other experts. We want to encourage the public to come and attend all these trainings,” she revealed.
Further, at Kololo, during TPAW, there will be several free health services among them free yellow fever vaccination, Hepatitis B testing, safe male circumcision, HIV testing and counseling.
“In order to give focus to the employment challenge, this year’s TPAW will feature a job hub and career guidance center. The hub will offer opportunities in various institutions and advice on the most lucrative careers. This is a response to the high rate of unemployment particularly among youth,” the CG revealed.
She added that businesses will be registered instantly in addition to instant issuance of driving permits. However, permit issuance will be followed by payment of requisite fees.
She added thatURA Senior Management are going to visit taxpayers countrywide to thank them for their continued contribution to revenue over the years.
“The taxpayers will be recognized and hosted to luncheons. We will also use this opportunity to engage and also receive feedback from them,” she revealed.
She added that as part of URA’s culture of giving back to society, all URA staff will on 10th September, 2019, be involved in countrywide Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to give back to communities where they work. “This is meant to benefit the less privileged members of society. It will be the second time that staff are involved in a CSR of this magnitude,” she said.