Through their umbrella body Gulu City Business Association, the local business owners say they have greatly contributed towards the growth of Gulu that ultimately earned it a City status, therefore they should be rewarded with some tax incentives.
The business community in Gulu City have asked the Uganda
Revenue Authority - URA to consider granting them tax holidays to spur
investments in the post-war economy.
Through their umbrella body Gulu City Business Association, the local business
owners say they have greatly contributed towards the growth of Gulu that
ultimately earned it a City status, therefore they should be rewarded with some
Alex Otema, the Chairperson of the association that comprises up to 460
different sectors, says the majority of the members operated during the very
grim era of the insurgency orchestrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)
As a result of the destructive LRA war, Otema who established his business in
Gulu in 1993 explains that several businesses have collapsed while others are
struggling to operate to date thus a tax motivation programme would aid their
survival and competitiveness.
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Kelly Komakech, a member of the Urban Authorities Association of Uganda and
former Pece Division Chairperson observes that tax exemptions would be a great
motivational package for the post-war businesses.
In 2018, the association’s leadership also wrote to the tax body to grant them
a year-long tax holiday but they were advised to petition Parliament instead.
They also decried the already unfair competition with foreign investors who
have narrowed their retail trade space.
John Musinguzi Rujoki, the Commissioner-General of URA argues that Uganda’s
annual tax revenue performance in terms of tax GDP ratio that ranges between 13
to 14 per cent which is below the internationally acceptable parameters.
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Rujoki applauded the business community and stakeholders for the continuous
support to the tax authority aimed at strengthening the countries financial
independence without heavily relying on foreign financial aid.
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The tax holiday is a government incentive programme that offers a tax reduction
or elimination to business. It is commonly used by the government especially in
developing countries to attract foreign investment.
Gulu City’s rapid growth is largely attributed to local investors in the
sectors of hotel and hospitality industry; property developers, market vendors,
boda-boda and taxi transporters, produce dealers, petrol stations, contractors,
farmers, retailers and wholesalers among others.
The tax body has been given an annual revenue target of 19.7 trillion against
45 trillion national budget for financial year 2020/2021. Of the amount of 20
billion shillings in tax revenue is expected to be collected from Gulu.
Ochola's journalism career begun from Radio King 90.2 FM in Gulu around 2009, and Radio Rupiny 95.7 Fm under Vision Group in 2012. He also reported for Mighty Fire 91.5 Fm, Kitgum in 2015 before joining Wizarts Foundation in 2017.
He has been reporting for Uganda Radio Network (URN) since 2017 before being posted as Bureau Chief Kitgum, and latr Gulu between 2018 - 2021. Currently, he reports from Parliament.