In a recent report, the Auditor General of Uganda has criticized the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) for its failure to collect Shs52.238 billion ($14.17 million) in gold export taxes. The uncollected revenue, related to exports in the fiscal years 2021/22 and 2022/23, has raised concerns about the government’s ability to deliver essential services.
According to the Auditor General’s findings, the exports during the mentioned period weighed a total of 70,837.91 kilograms, equivalent to US$14,167,582. However, the URA claims that the delayed collection of gold taxes was due to an interim court order that halted tax collection until concerns raised by gold exporters were addressed.
“The exports in 2021/22 weighed 30,167,582, and those of 2022/23 were 40,648.2 kilograms, totaling to 70,837.91 Kgs. This translated into US$14,167,582 equivalent to Shs52.238 billion that was not collected, contrary to the Mining and Minerals (Export Levy on Refined Gold) Regulations 2023,” stated the Auditor General’s report released in December 2023.
The URA, in its defense, explained that an interim order had been issued, restraining them from enforcing the statutory instrument, thereby preventing the collection of the gold export taxes. The failure to collect this significant amount has implications for government resources, affecting its ability to provide essential services.
To address this issue and enhance efficiency, the URA is seeking an additional Shs167 billion to recruit 1,278 new staff members. John Musinguzi, Commissioner General of URA, emphasized the need for a structural review to improve the organization’s efficiency and address long-standing revenue leakages.
“Uganda Revenue Authority is doing a structural review to improve the efficiency of the organization to add on to the number of foot soldiers required to do this noble mandate to plug some of the revenue leakages, and this activity hadn’t happened for quite some long period of time. Our proposal is that this recruitment can be spread over time because it would require about Shs167 billion,” stated Musinguzi while appearing before the Finance Committee.
In the 2024/25 fiscal year, URA has been allocated Shs619.989 billion, with Shs253.495 billion earmarked for wages, Shs321.174 billion for non-wage expenditure, and Shs45.320 billion allocated for development expenditure.