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Full list of changes at URA

Sakwa (left) is out, Mukiibi (middle) moved, and Patience T. Rubagumya stays

URA Board decision

  • Mukiibi Patrick has been transferred from the position of Commissioner Corporate Services to the position of Commissioner Domestic Taxes
  • Patience T. Rubagumya remains as Commissioner Legal Services and Board Affairs
  • Herbert Rusoke remains as Commissioner Internal Audit and Compliance
  • Abel Kagumire remains as Acting Commissioner Customs
  • Mathew Mugabi has been appointed as Acting Commissioner Tax Investigations.
  • James Kizza has been appointed as Acting Commissioner Corporate Services
  • John Tinka Katungwesi will be Acting Assistant Commissioner Large Taxpayers Office

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT & URN | Uganda Revenue Authority has confirmed several changes the the tax body’s board to its top management.

“The URA Board of Directors sat and made recommendations concerning the reorganization and Management of URA. On the 29th May, 2020, the following Senior Officials  Dicksons Kateshumbwa, Henry Saka, Silajji Kanyesigye Baguma and Samuel Kahima chose to resign, and the Board has accepted their resignations,” the tax body said in a statement on Saturday.

The statement went on to add that “following the above developments and in line with the URA Leadership Rotational Framework, the composition of the Heads of Department and the Large Taxpayers Office” has been changed.

URA listed the changes, which included  the transfer of Patrick Mukiibi from the position of Commissioner Corporate Services to the position of Commissioner Domestic Taxes

Earlier in the day, Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary Keith Muhakanizi confirmed that the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) board on Thursday made several changes in the management of the entity.

“The changes at URA are decisions of the board members and are normal changes and I associate myself with the decisions of the board,” Muhakanizi said on Capital FM’s  The Capital Gang on Saturday morning.

The Secretary to the Treasury, who is also a board member, added that, ” the challenge at URA is not about changes but revenue collections which stands at about 13.6% of GDP. We should be collecting 15%-16% of GDP.”

Kateshumbwa, who had recently been taken to head the domestic taxes docket, said in an e-mail to staff that he had decided to end his tour of duty ahead of the contractual period with immediate effect.

Katushumbwa, who served for five years as the commissioner customs until early this year, didn’t say why he was leaving. He had been at the tax body for 14 years.

“I have been privileged to serve in Customs, Tax Investigations and Domestic Taxes in addition to holding the World Customs Organisation Chairmanship, Chairman Board of Trustees URA Staff Retirements Benefits Scheme, among others,” Kateshumbwa said in an e-mail.

He added he was “particularly proud of the great countless reforms implemented that transferred Customs. This experience will be greatly put to use in my next occupation.”

Kateshumbwa’s last act was on Thursday afternoon, where he talked at the high-level dialogue on budget organized by the Ministry of Finance and civil society. He informed the public that what the tax body has “witnessed in the last three months has never happened in the entity’s history.”

He said imports have dropped, domestic production also went down together with employment, taking away key areas where they collect money.

Kateshumbwa quits URA

His resignation comes hot on the heels of the new leadership at URA after President Museveni fired former Commissioner General Doris Akol and appointed John Musinguzi, an intelligence officer, into the role in March.

Last November, URA locked horns with importers as the tax body, with Kateshumbwa still in charge of the customs docket, tried to introduce a raft of rules that traders said were not favourable for business.

In the proposed rules, Kateshumbwa wanted traders to pay all import taxes from the port of entry – that is Mombasa and Dar es Salaam before their goods are cleared to enter Uganda.

The directive also stopped most of the goods from being put in the bonded warehouses, including footwear, garments of all kinds, motor vehicle, and cycle tyres among others. But The rules were rejected by traders amidst calls for Kateshumbwa to resign.

Still, under his watch there were serious questions over the capacity of the customs unit to catch all tax cheats. In 2019, President Yoweri Museveni berated the tax body’s customs operations saying it was unable to do simple scans and catch tax cheats.

On a positive note, Kateshumbwa oversaw the building of several one-stop-border points at various border entry points, including Malaba and Elegu. These have facilitated the turnaround time as the body clears goods into and out of the country. Also, he firmed the digital tracking of transit goods, ensuring that traders don’t offload goods here even after declaring them going to the third country.

Kateshumbwa said he had made “18 reforms in Customs in 5 years, no regrets”.

He was seen as one of those commissioners that would ultimately take on the leadership of the tax body.

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URN

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