OVERALL automation and adaption of online tax systems have pushed up revenue collection up by 21% in the last two years, the tax authority has revealed
By David Mugabe
OVERALL automation and adaption of online tax systems have pushed up revenue collection up by 21% in the last two years, the tax authority has revealed.
The implementation of the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) also saved Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) $434,107 (sh1.2b) between May and November last year, during which 9,350 consignments were tracked.
It costs sh130,000 for the physical escort of a truck from the port.
According to URA’s commissioner for customs, Richard Kamajugo, the automated systems, which include the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) have also improved overall efficiencies and reduced waste.
“The clearance time is now one day down from five days and businesses can access and monitor their declarations, so those who are used to earning from telling lies are no more,” noted Kamajugo, while hosting officials from TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) and DFID, at Nakawa on Wednesday.
The two institutions, TMEA and DFID, are major funders of the move towards improving tax processing systems and overall infrastructure in the country.
Revenue collections rose from $427m in October 2013 to $518m in 2014 and from $534m in November 2013 to $644m in 2014.
Kamajugo said different stakeholders have embraced the web-based transactions.
“It makes them relevant and do more business,” he said. The systems have been rolled out progressively from April 2013 to December 2014.
There are currently 33 out of 34 stations using the system. To date, 98% of total customs transactions and customs revenue are collected using ASYCUDA World. URA projects that by March 2015, all the customs shall be covered by ASYCUDA World.
TMEA country director Allen Asiimwe described URA as a “flagship partner”, noting that TMEA’s next focus is supporting the informal sector to formalise, especially women.
“We think we will see a surge in trade volumes. It now takes less than four days from 21 days to get goods from the ports inland. We are seeing time reductions and savings,” Asiimwe noted.
The system also reduces queuing and movements to different customs offices because it enables online declaration submission and response to queries. It also facilitates timely response and enhancement to address business needs, risk management and management of agents.
“The result is savings in time and costs of doing business and increased turnaround time,” Asiimwe observed.
Going forward, URA also expects to monitor the performance of its staff online.
Automation improves revenue collection by 21%