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MPs Criticize URA over Delayed Installation of Scanners at Border Points

In her presentation before the Committee, Akol indicated that the tax body requires an additional 75 billion Shillings under Customs Tax Collection to purchase 5 scanners.
14 Jan 2020 17:51
Doris Akol, the URA Commissioner-General.JPG

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Members of Parliament on the Finance Committee have criticized Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) for slowing down on the installation of scanners at all border entry points.

This was during a meeting on Tuesday with officials from URA led by the Commissioner General Doris Akol over the Budget Framework Paper for the coming financial year 2020/2021.

In her presentation before the Committee, Akol indicated that the tax body requires an additional 75 billion Shillings under Customs Tax Collection to purchase 5 scanners. 

She noted that if not provided, this could affect non-intrusive customs inspections an effective risk management initiative bound with revenue potential, facilitation, security and statistics for the nation.  

According to the Budget Framework Paper, URA has been provided a budget allocation of 438.2 billion Shillings for financial year 2020/2021 and the tax body is expected to collect 21.54 trillion in domestic revenue to finance the proposed Shillings 39.64 trillion election-year budget.  

However, Akol’s quest for funds to purchase scanners raised concern from the Finance Committee Chairperson Henry Musasizi over the delay to prioritize the matter noting that a presidential directive to install scanners at all border entry points had not been taken seriously.  

In 2018 URA bought scanners worth 58 billion Shillings for the border points of Busia and Malaba to improve revenue collection and avert smuggling.

Kachumbala County MP Patrick Isiagi notes that since then even though the funds were retained in the budget, the more scanners to cover all entry points were never purchased.

  //Cue in: “but in the…  

Cue out:…strengthening was abandoned.”//  

Musasizi was also interested in knowing what mechanisms URA was planning to apply in order to control movement through several border points especially his Kigezi area that has several well-known border points that are not manned by URA staff. 

  //Cue in: “we have people…  

Cue out:…are closely protected.”//

  The Committee directed the Commissioner General Akol to re-appear on Tuesday next week together with officials from the Ministry of Finance for further explanation on the matter.

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