Tax body, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has Tuesday announced that this year’s Taxpayer Appreciation Month (TPAM) will focus on Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs).
The annual program which has become a highlight on the URA calendar year includes a series of activities aimed at appreciating and recognizing compliant taxpayers in the country.
Themed ‘Every Taxpayer Counts’, this year’s TPAM is hinged on the fact that irrespective of status-presumptive, medium or large taxpayer, everyone counts and makes a contribution to the economy.
Speaking at the press launch, held at the URA headquarters in Nakawa, the Commissioner General, Doris Akol, noted that their focus this year is the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s), which she described as the “unsung heroes”, who contribute immensely to Uganda’s economy.
“Recent studies show that SMEs contribute over 25% of Uganda’s total Gross Domestic Product and employ about 45% of the labour force. The total number of SMEs on our register is 376,657. The majority are in the wholesale and retail trade sector,” she noted.
In the past one year, SMEs contributed Shs 1.34 trillion amounting to 13.80% of the domestic revenue targets.
As such Akol said: “The importance of SMEs can, therefore, not be underestimated. Supporting them boosts their growth, which would have a ripple effect on the entire country.”
“We pledge to offer specialized taxpayer education services, knowledge and skills for effective business management, creating effective networking to name but a few,” explained Akol.
URA has therefore organized a number of activities in this Taxpayer Appreciation Month among which include country wide taxpayer visits where URA Senior Management will visit taxpayers countrywide to thank them for their continued contribution to revenue over the years.
“The taxpayers will be recognized and hosted to luncheons. We will also use this opportunity to engage and also receive feedback from them,” Akol noted.
She added that all URA staff will on September 10, 2019, be involved in countrywide Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to give back to communities where they work. Alol said the activity is meant to benefit the less privileged members of society.
URA is organizing a charity soccer match on September 20 between URA and several CEOs. Proceeds from the game will be used to support pupils of Bwama Primary School who cross Lake Bunyonyi in rickety canoes.
“We will buy them safe motorized boats, life jackets and a water purification system. We urge the public to join us in this noble cause,” explained Akol.
URA will as well extend a free invitation to 1,000 most compliant SMEs to exhibit at Kololo Independence Grounds during the Taxpayers Appreciation Week (TPAW) from 25th – 27th September, 2019. Akol says the move will offer them an opportunity to showcase their goods and services, make sales and networking opportunities.
URA has also organised free daily sessions dubbed ‘Bomba Ya Business’, where it will offer business skills for business growth as well as share tips on local and international trade opportunities. The three-day curriculum will be facilitated by business management, trade, economists and other experts.
“At Kololo, during TPAW, there will be several free health services among them free Yellow Fever vaccination, Hepatitis B testing, safe male circumcision, HIV testing and counselling. Raffle draws and treasure hunt games with various prizes are on the list of activities,” Akol explained.
“In order to give focus to the employment challenge, this year’s TPAW will feature a job hub and career guidance center. The hub will offer opportunities in various institutions and advice on the most lucrative careers. This is a response to the high rate of unemployment particularly among youth,” added the URA Commissioner General.
She said businesses will be registered instantly in addition to instant issuance of driving permits. She however noted that permit issuance will be followed payment of requisite fees.