President Museveni during celebrations to mark URA's 30 years of existence. PHOTO/COURTESY

President Museveni has said that the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) still a lot to do to realise more taxes that are needed to grow the economy.

 According to the President, whereas URA has achieved a lot in terms of revenue collection in the last 30 years, it has a potential of achieving more if all loopholes are closed.

“Although you are congratulating yourselves, performance doesn’t lie. The tax to GDP ratio has stagnated around 11%, 12% and 13%. As soon as we created URA we jumped to 11% but we are now stuck there. Where is the other money going? Buildings are increasing and imports,” Mr Museveni said.

He was speaking on Wednesday, 15 September 2021 at a function to celebrate 30 years of URA’s existence.

According to the President, with more tax collections, government would not need to borrow to finance the budget.

“The GDP is now 44 billion dollars. If it is as it is now and we are to collect 20% of that, we would not borrow. I heard your minister praising you for collecting Shs19 billion last year but the budget is Shs42 trillion, it means you must borrow internally and externally up to Shs20 trillion.”

According to the President, URA must deal with tax evasion by adopting modern technological tools.

“Modern technology simplifies work, but my people here don’t want to listen. Many people are not paying house rent or under-declaring because URA is not recording people who have houses for rent,” President Museveni said.

“I got intelligence that there is a lot of misdeclarations. You have a lorry, how do you know what is inside? We even got an offer from some American who told me we should have x-ray machines, and if she collects more money, I give her a percentage. They told me we shall do it ourselves, why haven’t you done it all this time?” He wondered.

In his remarks, the URA Commissioner General, Mr  John Musinguzi Rujoki, said they are working to improve their image.

“We say we will reject, rebuke and condemn corruption. This is the direction we are taking. We are training our staff. We are using technology to expand our tax base and minimize revenue leakages,” Musinguzi said.

“We can’t collect revenue unless we have built credibility. We are working on that, and we thank the founding members who worked towards that,” he added.