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URA changes revenue collection strategy to combat enforcement violence

URA Commissioner General John Musinguzi addressing the meeting

URA Commissioner General John Musinguzi addressing the meeting

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has resolved to revise its revenue mobilisation and collection strategies in the West Nile region to reduce the number of human casualties during enforcement.

The border region is synonymous with smuggling and this has more often than not led to violent confrontations between URA enforcement officers, suspected smugglers and the local community which at times has led to loss of innocent lives.

During a stakeholder meeting in Arua on Monday, URA Commissioner General John Musinguzi promised a change in enforcement going forward, saying the tax body will rely more on intelligence-led operations, mass sensitization campaigns and refresher courses for its enforcement officers as one of the means to harmonise their relations with the local community in West Nile. 

The stakeholders meeting was also attended by the state minister for General Duties Henry Musasizi, local leaders, the business community as well as security officers. 

“I associate myself with the resolutions of the previous meetings which condemned senseless killings, smuggling, and violence in whatever form,” reckoned Musinguzi.

UPDF 4th Division commander Brig Gen Michael Kabango who presented the resolutions agreed upon in the previous meetings after the January incident echoed the condemnation.

“There was a total condemnation of the killings whether deliberate or accidental by security officers, the violent response by the community to enforcement and the act of smuggling and tax evasion,” said Kabango.

Koboko Woman MP Taban Sharifah said while she has no problem with collecting tax to enable government service delivery, URA ought to change its enforcement methods. Arua Central MP Atima Jackson Lee Buti echoed this stance noting that he was optimistic about the outcomes of this engagement in driving the region towards peaceful trade.

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