Akol was summoned by Parliaments Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) summoned Akol to explain the process of collecting taxes on goods vis-a-vis the process of verification of standards. This followed Akol a petition by 3,000 traders claiming losses following the destruction of their goods for poor standards even after paying taxes.
The Commissioner-General of
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Doris Akol has downplayed accusations that the
tax body caused losses to businesses by retaining taxes paid for goods that are
destroyed after failing to meet standards.
Akol was summoned by Parliaments Committee
on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) summoned Akol
to explain the process of collecting taxes on goods vis-a-vis the process of
verification of standards. This followed a petition by 3,000 traders claiming losses following the destruction of
their goods for poor standards even after paying taxes.
Akol explained that URA operates
under a coordinated border management system that includes all agencies
involved in the regulation of imports like the National Drug Authority (NDA) and Uganda
National Bureau of Standards. She, however, added that customs take precedence
and are collected at the frontier ports in Mombasa and Dar Es Salaam, where taxes
have to be paid before entry into the country.
Akol indicates that this system
is enforced through the National Electronic single window where all agencies
engaged in the regulation of imports can simultaneously facilitate and control
trade. She said that goods that have failed to obtain a pre-verification of
exports certificate from the country of origin are red-flagged.
Under cross-examination led by
Kampala Central MP Mohammed Nsereko, Akol insisted that once goods are declared
sub-standard an importer can file an application for a refund of import taxes
within 12 months after the destruction of the goods.
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Nsereko says that many businesses
people do not know the legal regime to seek a refund of taxes for destroyed goods
and that also the period stipulated for refund is long.
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But, according to Akol, URA and
all the other agencies follow the regular process requiring an application for
a refund in 12 months after goods are destroyed.
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Katikamu North MP Abraham Byandala
and Budadiri East MP Vincent Woboya tasked Akol to show proof of amounts of
monies that have been refunded within the last two years. However, she appealed
for more time to provide a list.
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COSASE Vice Chairperson Ibrahim
Kasozi wondered whether URA and UNBS were doing their job right given that 54
per cent of the goods on the market are substandard. He asked whether the public is
sensitized on procedures followed to certify goods and penalties.
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Akol said that they
usually have sensitization seminars especially with KACITA and other business
associations where they raise and explain different issues concerning taxes and