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Inadequate Staff Hindering Revenue Collection in Gulu City Division

According to the Division’s revenue performance report for the first quarter of the 2021/ 2022 financial year, only 384.7 million shillings local revenue was collected between July and September this year out of the estimated 2.62 billion shillings.
The Pece -Laroo Division Councilors during their fourth full council meeting at Gulu City Health Boardroom -Photo by Jesse Johnson James

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The inadequate number of Town Agents is hindering the local revenue collection in Pece –Laroo Division in Gulu City. The Division has six agents instead of the required 19.

According to the Division’s revenue performance report for the first quarter of the 2021/ 2022 financial year, only 384.7 million shillings local revenue was collected between July and September this year out of the estimated 2.62 billion shillings.

Some of the poor performing areas include the local hotel tax where only 2.9 million shillings was collected out of the estimated 102.4 million shillings, business license 10 million shillings was realized out of the projected 623.9 million shillings. 37.9 Million Shillings was collected from market/ gate charges out of the estimated 114.2 million shillings.

Collins Atube Bolingo, the Pece –Laroo Division Deputy Speaker says the poor local revenue collection is attributed to the inadequate number of town agents in the division to carry on the tasks.

According to Atube, the Division currently deploys only one town agent to collect the local revenue in three parishes, and that without transport facilitation, the town agents are unable to move to all the parishes especially the annexed areas like Twonokun, Unyama, and Pageya Parishes.

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He also added that there is a lack of teamwork between the political wing and the technocrats in mobilizing the public to pay taxes as required of them in a bid to improve service delivery.

Gifta Aber, the Pece –Laroo Division Council Finance, Planning, and Administration Committee Chairperson says the impacts of the COVID -19 pandemic on many businesses have also led to the low revenue collection in the Division. He explains that a number of businesses have closed, yet they were potential revenue sources.

Solomon Rachkara, the Councilor of Twonokun Ward, Pece –Laroo Division in Gulu City says the transition from physical revenue collection to the Integrated Revenue Administration System –IRAS also accounts for the low revenue collection in the Division saying in other areas, physical receipts are still being issued. He also added that the majority of the Division staff are relaxed since all are acting officers. 

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James Tolit, the Pece –Laroo Division Town Clerk says the poor local revenue collection has greatly affected service delivery to the locals like garbage collections. Tolit revealed that the division spends 54 liters of fuel daily to collect piles of garbage from different spots and that without money, they are unable to do the needful.

Geoffrey Otim, the Pece –Laroo Division Mayor, however, revealed that the government has now approved the Gulu City Service Commission and that very soon, they will recruit more staff like the town agents to improve revenue collection.

Otim also calls for teamwork among the technocrats and the political leaders in a bid to improve local revenue collection.