Arua – Officials from Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) have asked the people of West Nile to desist from acts of tax evasion.

Speaking during an engagement with journalists at Heritage Courts hotel on Thursday, Robert Rumanyika, the URA Tax Education Supervisor said it is through tax payment that the government can deliver services to the people.

“If you want good services, first pay taxes and you demand for them. I know people don’t want to pay taxes but as journalists, help us to instill the culture of paying taxes in them,” Lumanyika advised.

“If you want good roads, hospitals and schools yet you are not paying tax, where will the money come from?” Lumanyika asked.He urged the media in West Nile to help URA to tell people that they should pay taxes so as to receive services from the government.

“People are engaged in businesses, the businesses are not known and registered, even when you try to tell these ladies that please don’t smuggle honey from Congo, we know that probably it could be cheaper there, don’t smuggle, they will tell you I have to send my children to school. But we need to tell them that when you smuggle, you are actually affecting government in collecting tax,” Lumanyika stressed.

He noted that Arua City has good roads and buildings which should be reflected into tax payment as well.

“You have 108 structures but when you go to revenue tax register, you will only see five people registered in our record. The buildings are too many but they are not matching with what we are seeing in the tax register,” Lumanyika said.

Ivan Kakaire, the URA Regional Manager in charge of Customs who also doubles as the URA spokesperson Northern Region observed that people are very sensitive that the media should help in sensitizing them on the need to pay tax.

“We need a renewed agenda, where we go wrong, tell us and we move forward. We have realized that on these issues of taxes we should start with you because people usually run to you first and you can be in position to explain to them how they can pay taxes,” Kakaire said.

Felix Warom Okello, a Daily Monitor journalist in Arua urged URA officials in West Nile to stop ruthlessness in collecting taxes so that taxpayers and URA enforcers do not lose their lives.

He added: “URA should also offer tax holidays for local businessmen and rewards to loyal tax payers so that people can be encouraged to pay tax freely. Also the effects of tax should be felt by communities with better services. If not, it creates suspicion.”

The meeting organized by URA was attended by over 30 journalists from different media houses in West Nile region.

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