By Samuel Sanya
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is to auction Pioneer Easy buses for failure to clear a sh8b tax debt.
Sarah Banage, the URA assistant commissioner for public and corporate affairs told a news conference on Wednesday that auctioning the 99 buses in the next two weeks would help them close a collection deficit.
The tax body posted a sh30b surplus in tax collections for the month of February to boost the government’s purse.
A total sh576.71b is now available for expenditure on areas under the national budget for the fiscal year 2012/13 although annual collections are below targets by sh115b.
URA recently impounded the buses belonging to Pioneer Easy Bus Company for failure to clear a debt.
The move followed persistent reminders to the bus company to clear the cumulative debt since operation last year in most of Kampala suburbs.
URA manager in Charge of Debt Collection, Abudu-Sallam Waisswa said Pioneer buses directors failed to honour the memorandum of Understanding entered into in October last year which has forced the Authority to impound their buses.
The bus company started operations on March 12, taking advantage of a strike by taxi operators over the sh120, 000 monthly dues charged by KCCA.
Passengers enjoyed lower fares charged by the buses, compared to those charged by taxis, which dominate the city's public transport.
URA Commissioner General, Allen Kagina told Parliament that the suspension of the Pioneer Easy operations over sh8b tax dispute was a last resort after Pioneers management had exhausted the tax body’s patience.
According to Kagina, Pioneer Easy bus management has for more than a year been running URA in circles over outstanding taxes, breaching numerous memorandums of understanding in the process.