Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | The East African Revenue Authorities are facing similar challenges – a small tax base because of a huge informal sector, tax evasion, limited human resource personnel and volatile economy. Others are poor information technology systems and connectivity, political uncertainties and delays in dispute resolution.
In response, the Commissioner Generals of the East African Community revenue authorities have agreed to support the harmonisation process of tax systems and administration in order to remove tax distortion and encourage investment across the region; address the regional tax administration policy issues through the EAC Customs Committee; establish mechanisms to accelerate tax dispute resolutions including establishment of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR); have an integrated scanner system for all users across the region similar to the regional electronic cargo tracking system; strengthen intelligence structures and information sharing with other arms of government in order to combat tax fraud.
Speaking during the 43rd East African Revenue Meeting held in Kampala on Nov. 23-24 , Uganda Revenue Authority Commissioner General, Doris Akol, said collaboration between the EAC revenue bodies would improve knowledge and experience in handling cross-border tax issues and other related matters, which would ultimately increase revenue collection to fund government activities.
This year’s meeting came at a time when, for the first four months of this financial year – 2017/18, the revenue authorities in the region recorded revenue growth of 14.5% compared to a year before despite the slow economic growth rates characterized by decline in importation of consumer goods.
“Going forward, we all agreed that we are on course to achieving on our targets because revenues are growing due to the various activities taking place in our various economies,” Akol said at a joint press conference at the Kampala Serena Hotel.
The meeting attracted commissioner generals and senior tax officer from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zanzibar. Other officials in the meeting included representatives from the EAC Secretariat and the International Monetary Fund.