Friday, July 12, 2024

Uganda: Speaker directs Ministers to resolve city traders’ woes


Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among has directed the Minister of Trade, Tourism and Industry, and that of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to resolve the woes of Kampala City Traders and report back to Parliament on Tuesday, 16 April 2024. 

The traders, under their umbrella body, Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) started a strike which has seen majority of shops in down town closed since 08 April 2024. 

Among other challenges, the traders are protesting the enforcement of the Uganda Revenue Authority’s (URA) Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing Solution (EFRIS) system, saying that they were not sensitised and also lack the requisite infrastructure to use the system. 

“This is not only happening in Kampala, this must be interrogated and we must come to a solution. The Committee of Trade and Finance must do a public hearing with these traders-URA must come out, there should be certainty in collection of these taxes collection,” she said. 

Among also said that given the current budgeting period, the Finance Committee ought to conduct extensive consultations on all tax bills before they are enacted to ensure compliance from tax payers. 

She made the directive while chairing plenary on Tuesday, 09 April 2024 after the matter was raised by Kampala Central Division Member of Parliament, Hon. Muhammad Nsereko. 

Nsereko said that the traders are frustrated with the EFRIS system which has greatly affected their businesses. 

“You are talking about over 200,000 people closing their businesses and that means for every day they close business, is a short fall in tax collection,” he said. 

Leader of Opposition, Joel Ssenyonyi said that the cardinal principle of ensuring ease in tax remittances ought to be followed by URA. 

“They [Traders] are happy to pay taxes but there is a challenge with this system. URA has not sensitized the traders, they need smart phones to be able to interact with the system. They are having run-ins with URA because they are not on same page,” Ssenyonyi said. 

Minister of State Finance, Planning and Economic Development (General Duties), Hon. Henry Musasizi however said that the traders have been sensitised about EFRIS. 

“Ever since EFRIS was launched in 2019 and subsequently full implementation after COVID, URA has sensitised over 20,000 traders,” Musasizi said. 

He added that the traders have three options including the EFRIS mobile application, use of machine in the shop or installation of the system in the computer used in the shops. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.

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