UPC criticizes EFRIS implementation, calls for policies to safeguard local businesses

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UPC criticizes EFRIS implementation, calls for policies to safeguard local businesses
UPC president Jimmy AKena

The Uganda People's Congress has voiced its concerns regarding the implementation of the Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing Solution (EFRIS), which has caused significant unrest among traders across the country.

The party has emphasized the importance of implementing policies that benefit all citizens and safeguard local businesses.

During a media briefing at the party headquarters, Jimmy Akena, the party president, expressed the belief that involving stakeholders in the formulation of policies is crucial, and it is equally important to educate them about the policies in question.

"Uganda has faced ongoing industrial unrest, particularly in the health and education sectors. Today, the trade industry is facing concerns with the implementation of the new Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing Solution (EFRIS) initiative by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) under the Domestic Revenue Mobilization Program. Its purpose is to record business transactions and share real-time information with URA," Akena stated.

Akena further highlighted that the tension between traders and URA has escalated, resulting in business closures in Kampala and other parts of the country, at a time when businesses are just beginning to recover from the consequences of the Covid-19 lockdown.

"This not only affects internal business transactions and government revenue collection but also jeopardizes regional trade," he added.

However, Akena acknowledged that EFRIS was initially implemented for large businesses such as industries and supermarkets. He noted that extending the policy to medium-sized businesses has been challenging due to the lack of sufficient knowledge within the business community regarding this new tax initiative.

"UPC urges URA to proceed cautiously with the implementation of the EFRIS program. The focus and emphasis should be placed on regularly educating and engaging the business community about such policies," he emphasized.

Traders affiliated with the Federation of Uganda Traders' Associations (FUTA) initiated protests against the Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing Solutions (EFRIS) system last week. On Tuesday, they were joined by traders associated with the Kampala City Traders Association-KACITA.

Numerous shops in the city centre have closed as a result, with traders protesting outside their establishments.

Security forces, including military police and the counterterrorism police unit (FFU), have been deployed in different parts of the city center.

In certain areas such as Nakivubo, Namirembe, and Kiseka, the police used tear gas and bullets to disperse some unruly traders who had begun burning tyres in the middle of the roads.

On Saturday last week, John Musinguzi, the URA Commissioner General, reiterated that EFRIS would not be removed. Instead, they will continue engaging the business community to ensure a better understanding of the new policy.

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