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Masaka City Registers Local Revenue Shortfalls Despite Installation of Digital Collection System :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Masaka City Registers Local Revenue Shortfalls Despite Installation of Digital Collection System

According to records, the computerized system is yet to effectively bridge the revenue leakages in Masaka city, hence failing to meet its local revenue collection targets.

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Masaka City Council has continued to struggle with local revenue collection shortfalls despite the installation of the e-tax assessment and collection system.

In 2020, the council introduced the Integrated Revenue Management System-IRAS; a web and mobile application platform where the taxpayers are digitally assessed, and given unique codes which are used to pay the revenue through the bank or via mobile money platforms.

According to records, the computerized system is yet to effectively bridge the revenue leakages in Masaka city, hence failing to meet its local revenue collection targets.  

For instance, in the 2021/22 financial year approved budget, Masaka City anticipated collecting 5.48 billion shillings from its local revenue sources such as trading license fees, billboards, hotel tax, property tax, local service tax, fines and penalties among others, but it only realized 2.45 billion shillings.

In the subsequent financial year 2022/23, out of a targeted 5.7 billion, the City realized 3.74 billion shillings leaving a shortfall of at least 2 billion shillings.

Peter Ntenge, the Director of Batata Company Limited, a firm that was hired to mobilize local revenue payment in the area says that there are existential structural loopholes through which substantial sums of money are being lost.

According to Ntenge, some of the city’s technical staff are stealthily circumventing the digital system to collect money from taxpayers and issue them with manual receipts, whose payments are not entered.   He explains that besides staff in City Treasury who take advantage of business owners who are not yet acquainted with the digitalized payment system, there are also several reports of Town Agents who have continued with habits of picking money from different taxpayers, but not depositing the money in the city collection accounts.  

To his surprise; Ntege says that some taxpayers are also confessing that they are used to meeting the revenue obligations in monthly and quarterly installments and that many of them are issued with receipts and license forms with City council stamps.

//Cue in: “abantu balaga okuwa…..   

  Cue out; …..muntu mulala.”//  

According to him, with the recent expansion of Masaka City’s geographical boundaries, coupled with ongoing physical infrastructure developments and several businesses that have been attracted, the urban council is capable of increasing its local revenue collections, only if the structural leakages can be bridged.  

Florence Namayanja, the Masaka City Mayor says she is equally concerned about the local revenue collection shortfalls, however indicating that they doing everything possible to close the gaps in the system.

She says that besides carrying public sensitization campaign to popularize digital tax payment processes, the city is in the final stages of developing a comprehensive tax valuation roll, which she says will provide a conclusive solution to theft and misappropriation of revenues by staff.

She explains that in addition to the valuation roll, they are also updating the city’s assets and business register, which will help them get actual statistics concerning the local revenue base hence simplifying follow-ups on all payments.

Geoffrey Bemanyisa the Masaka City Clerk says his office is going to institute an inquiry into the allegations labeled against staff and will accordingly take administrative action on the culprits.

 //Cue in Town Agents….   

  Cue out:….without compromise.”//  

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