The Uganda Revenue Authority has started a mass sensitisation drive for West Nile Region. This follows an announcement by URA Customs Commissioner, Dicksons Kateshumbwa while concluding a fact finding tour with Members of parliament at the different customs stations.
A delegation from the Finance and Economic Planning committee of parliament had been on a fact finding mission tour of the Uganda Revenue Authority border stations in Uganda.
The committee looked at among other things; border operations, challenges faced by Ugandan tax collectors at boarders, as well as observing the workings of initiatives like One Stop Border Post, Non-intrusive inspection, The Single Customs Territory and the Uganda Electronic Single Window.
According to the tax body, smuggling has considerably gone down in Uganda, but there are still many cases of smuggling in the West Nile mainly due to the porous nature of the border in some places most notably the stretch between Vurra and Lia border post between Uganda and DR Congo/South Sudan.
Katashumba says that West Nile locals need to be sensitized against smuggling in the country is to make strides in revenue collections.
“Motorcycles, sugar, rice and kitenge are the most smuggled items in this region, through working more closely with the local leadership in West Nile, we shall be able to achieve complete behavioural change on the part of the community against smuggling,” Katashumba said.
Henry Musasizi(MP. Rubanda East , the Committee chairman observed that there is need to have the population in the region sensitised about the danger in smuggling to the Ugandan economy.
Asiku Elias (MP Koboko North) urged communities and the leadership of Westnile to work with URA and embrace a culture of paying taxes. He encouraged the public to shun smuggling because it dents the image of West Nile region.
In addition the MP of Kilak North and member of the Committee, Anthony Akol, also the shadow Minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development paid tribute to the year on year growth of revenue collection. He appealed to his constituents to comply with taxes to further reduce Uganda’s reliance on debts.
“For the people of Westnile, I want to request. For every penny that we get from abroad, it is our grandchildren that will have to pay. Let us pay our taxes, desist from Smuggling and fund our own budget.” Akol said.