Uganda Revenue Authority should start tracking all local and international phone calls in the country so as to effectively tax telecom companies.
The call was made by President Yoweri Museveni during the closing ceremony of the 1st Science Model Workshop organized by the Uganda Revenue Authority at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
The workshop which started on Tuesday November 19th and ended today 23rd was under the theme; “The evolution of science in tax administration.
According to Mr. Museveni, too much money is lost due to under declaration by telecom companies. “When you ask a telecom operator how many calls have been made on their network, instead of 5 billion, they will only declare 3 billion. Financial papers are not enough, you need to monitor all phone calls electronically” the president said.
He also called for the purchase and installation of electronic scanners at all borders. The president advised that the scanners should be linked to a central system that could allow even state house access to whatever is entering.
He wondered how the tax authority determines with their eyes products in big trucks. He says such scanners should be able to see through heavy trailers as even weigh bridges are not enough.
Mr. Museveni also promised to help URA do overhead of buildings in Kampala to determine how much tax each landlord should pay, since most of them are playing tricks and under declaring rental money. The president said he was happy to be a part of what he termed as mini anti-slavery conference, explaining that tax administration is a form of liberation. He added that Africa is borrowing and begging too much instead of helping one another. “This borrowing and begging must stop. It is too expensive to borrow, because you have to use that money to serve its purpose and also pay an interest. African countries are now acknowledged beggars. It is embarrassing” the president told delegates.
URA hosted delegates from 18 African countries including; Kenya, Rwanda, Comoros, Zambia, Malawi and Madagascar among others.
The president also said he wants to get rid of authorities in Uganda but the tax body will not be tampered with. “I do not like authorities. Authority this, authority that, I will finish them. But for URA, we shall continue with it.
Several countries showcased their technology used in tax administration and inspected some of the projects run by URA. One of the devices showcased was the Progeny, a handheld machine used in raw material identification, in process analysis, finished product inspection and brand security.
The portable device is manufactured by Rigaku Analytical Devices, a Kenyan company. The device can be used by people in their homes to identify medicines, and counterfeits through scanning.
Speaking to the press on the sidelines of the event, Patrick Mukiibi the ag. Commissioner URA said most tax payers under-declare their earnings but the new science innovation has stopped such. He says that since last year, revenue has increased due to the science laboratory that was started 6 years ago.
Mr. Mukiibi explains that science helps them in identifying clothes, tiles, drinks among other products and how to tax them. The body also has a forensics laboratory which helps them identify forged papers.