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What makes Allen Kagina tick

By Vision Reporter

Added 25th October 2014 07:38 PM

She came, she recharged, she transformed. Allen Kagina, Uganda Revenue Authority’s (URA) fourth Commissioner General has said her goodbyes after leading the tax body and the country to unprecedented growth.

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She came, she recharged, she transformed. Allen Kagina, Uganda Revenue Authority’s (URA) fourth Commissioner General has said her goodbyes after leading the tax body and the country to unprecedented growth.

By Samuel Sanya

She came, she recharged, she transformed. Allen Kagina, Uganda Revenue Authority’s (URA) fourth Commissioner General has said her goodbyes after leading the tax body and the country to unprecedented growth.


The mood was slightly sombre, yet joyful at the Serena Hotel in Kampala on Wednesday evening at a dinner hosted by the Kampala chapter of URA, as her husband, Paul Kagina, her three children and father Mzee Kakuyo told the eminent gathering of what made her tick.


Allen Kagina gave the URA a humane face, and oversaw a massive restructuring of the tax body after the Ssebutinde Commission report in February 2004, cutting administrative layers to seven from 17.


She changed URA’s image from that of a corrupt institution to a more open, forthright institution. During her 10-year tenure, tax collections grew 317.5% to sh8.03 trillion in 2013/14 from sh1.92trillion in 2004/05 at a fraction of the cost.


Michael Ochan, the URA commissioner for corporate services, noted that the cost of tax collection dropped to 2.5% from 3.4% over the past 10 years as the tax body rolled out electronic tax filing.

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Paul and Allen Kagina arrive at Serena conference hall for her farewell dinner. PHOTO/Eddie Ssejjoba


Speaking about the transformation, Ofwono Opondo, the executive director, Uganda Media Centre and government spokesman, said in a tweet that “URA is not a tax collector, but a service provider which built effective relationships with stakeholders.”


Describing his wife, Paul Kagina said: “She (Allen) was a fighter for a cause. She is a kind of person who likes prayer and singing. When God gives you an assignment, he also gives you the peace.


“The URA is a family; the team she has been with can be called her legacy.”


Juma Kisaame, who represented Gerald Sendaula, the URA board chairman, noted that she was forthright, principled and transparent. “If there is something she does not like she will tell you. She has put a humane face to tax collection.”


Kagina succeeded the now deceased Annebrit Aslund, a Swedish expatriate, after Stephen Akabwai acted as commissioner general on an interim basis between July-October 2004. Ghanaian tax expert Edward Larbi Siaw and Ugandan Elly Rwakakoko also served as commissioner generals.


Kagina started out as a teaching assistant at Makerere University in 1985 before moving to the Office of the President. In 1992, she joined the newly formed URA as Senior Principal Revenue Officer, until 1998.


In 2000, she was promoted to the rank of Deputy Commissioner for Customs at URA until 2001. She was appointed Commissioner General of URA in 2004.

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Allen Kagina points at some of the trophies URA won during her time of service as Commissioner General. Flanked  by Members of Parliament  Betty Among and Jimmy Akena. PHOTO/Eddie Ssejjoba


During her tenure she was awarded the Corporate Leadership Award in February 2006, for turning around the performance of the tax body since her appointment.


“I thank God that we have a President who can support you 100%. I have served for 22 years and been a team leader for 10 years. URA is strong, stable and revenue is coming in.


“URA will never go back. My job is done,” Kagina said in her parting speech. She leaves office at the end of October for the private sector.

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What makes Allen Kagina tick

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