Ambitious digital strategy Unveiled for national development
The Uganda Revenue Authority has launched its Digital Strategy, which aims to transform tax collection and fiscal management in Uganda.
John R. Musinguzi, Commissioner-General of URA, outlined the highlights of the strategy during a high-profile event attended by key stakeholders, including government officials, business leaders, and members of parliament.
A vision of financial independence
Musinguzi emphasized that the URA’s mission is to mobilize revenue for national development in a transparent and efficient manner. He articulated a vision of Uganda achieving financial independence, with the ability to fund its budget without relying on external financial support.
Performance management and efficiency
The Digital Strategy isn’t solely about revenue targets but also about improving the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio. To this end, URA is focusing on performance management, implementing a transparent system for measuring staff efficiency. The organization aims to harness technology to enhance the overall efficiency of its operations.
Enhancing stakeholder engagement
To promote voluntary compliance and ensure a more collaborative relationship with taxpayers, URA is investing in stakeholder engagement and tax education. The URA Touch Point, Contact Center, and increased media engagement are some of the innovations aimed at achieving this goal.
Empirical data and policy support
Musinguzi highlighted the importance of innovation and research, both for URA and its partners in policy-making. Access to empirical data is critical for supporting new laws and regulations, and URA is committed to pursuing this avenue.
Support for taxpayers Musinguzi acknowledged the challenges faced by taxpayers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and international economic uncertainties. The government is committed to building administrative efficiency instead of introducing new taxes. URA encourages non-compliant taxpayers to take advantage of innovations like the Voluntary Disclosure program and the arrears relief granted by Parliament.
A strategic shift to chess
Robert Mutebi, Commissioner of IT and Innovation at URA, emphasized the strategic shift in their approach. He likened the previous approach to playing checkers, which is reactive and lacks depth. Going forward, URA is playing chess, requiring proactive, strategic thinking.
Key Highlights of the Digital Strategy
Mutebi provided an overview of the Digital Strategy’s key elements, including:
- A revamped touchpoint system, which allows taxpayers to access services via WhatsApp.
- Solutions aimed at improving inclusivity, such as the USSD code *285#, allowing even feature phone users to pay taxes.
- Interoperability of systems for enhanced professionalism and customer-centric services.
- A state-of-the-art data center to ensure system uptime and reliability.
- Improved clarity and certainty for taxpayers.
- Enhanced use of technology for real-time identification and resolution of tax noncompliance.
Call for increased tax-to-GDP ratio
The Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija, concluded the event by tasking URA with achieving a 20% Tax-to-GDP ratio within the next two years, emphasizing the importance of economic self-sufficiency and reduced reliance on borrowing.
In conjunction with the Digital Strategy launch, URA also unveiled a new state-of-the-art Tier III URA Data Center and several innovative tax solutions designed to simplify the tax experience for every Ugandan taxpayer.
The URA Digital Strategy represents a bold step toward transforming tax collection in Uganda, enhancing transparency, efficiency, and fiscal responsibility, and ultimately driving the nation toward greater financial independence.