EAC to leverage on technology for revenue mobilization

Feb 20, 2023

This was agreed upon during the 50th East Africa Revenue Authorities Commissioner General meeting hosted in Kampala from February 16 to 17 by the Uganda Revenue Authority.

John Musinguzi URA Commissioner General speaking during the 50th East Africa Revenue Authorities Commissioner General meeting hosted in Kampala from February 16 to 17. (Courtesy photo)

Joseph Bahingwire
Journalist @New Vision

Heads of East African Revenue Authorities have resolved to leverage on technology and data for revenue mobilization and collection.

This was agreed upon during the 50th East Africa Revenue Authorities Commissioner General meeting hosted in Kampala from February 16 to 17 by the Uganda Revenue Authority.

The objective of the biannual meeting was to share experiences and address common challenges facing tax administration in the region.

It was attended by commissioners general and senior officers from the office of Burundais des Recettes (OBR), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), South Sudan National Revenue Authority, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and Zanzibar Revenue Authority. 

Others in attendance were the representatives of the East African Community Secretariat.

It was organized under the theme; Leveraging on technology and data for revenue mobilization.

The meeting was chaired by John Musinguzi, the URA Commissioner General. In his remarks, he noted that the ever-changing and dynamic environment in which the regional tax administrations operate calls for increased reliance on technology and data analytics.

In his comments, he stated that revenue collection and management was evolving from self-declaration to collecting revenue with tools that increase the accuracy of the assessment of taxes, improve compliance with paying taxes, increase customer satisfaction, and improve efficiency. 

“This is the future of tax administration and I want to thank my colleague the commissioners' general of the East African Region for giving this important forum the priority and attention that it deserves,” he said.

Tax administration system

The URA boss indicated that the commissioners had agreed to have a common tax administration system and a common data governance policy across the region


“We shared how every county is running its tax administration system and we agreed that going forward we should work together to find the most suitable solutions for tax management not only for today but even for the future. We have tasked our team of experts to work hard and get back to us in one month on how we shall proceed together,” he added.

They agreed to recommend to their respective governments on enhancing and increasing the tax rate for digital services at a rate of 5 percent so that it is comparable to the other taxes charged to businesses within their countries.

“The other most important decision that we agreed on is to support one another in the cross-border recover of taxes and enhancing the legal frameworks to expedite this because we have businesses that operate across borders and sometimes, they default in one country and operate freely in another country,” he said.

Musinguzi noted that they need to work together to find ways of expeditiously supporting one another in collecting taxes across the borders.

Managing tax collections

To efficiently manage tax collections, they looked at areas they would start with. They prioritized areas of telecoms and efficient management of the VAT using technology as the first two areas of focus.

They also recommended the need to benchmark against other regions registering better tax collection performances, an analysis of economic sector performance mainly focusing on tax contribution of agriculture.

 Githii Mburu, the Commissioner General Kenya Revenue Authority said smuggling of goods usually takes place across borders when goods are taxed in one country and not taxed in the neighbouring country or different tax rates in the two countries.

He said they were “so much aware” of the smuggling taking place and have developed measures to end the practice.

“We have the regional electronic cargo tracking system to track goods from the entry port of Mombasa to all destinations in real-time and we can intervene if anybody tries to smuggle such goods out of the transit routes,” he said.

At the meeting, he said they had discussed and adopted the use of smart gates as one of the measures to control the smuggling of goods within the region as well as the adoption of drones to monitor the regional porous borders.

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