SEATINI, MoFPED, URA and Other Partners Hold the EAC Post Tax and Budget Dialogue for FY 2022/23
As part of the efforts to achieve this, for Financial Year (FY) 2022/23, countries in the EAC have agreed on a common budget theme, “Accelerating economic recovery and Enhancing Productive sectors for improved Livelihood.” Subsequently on 14th June 2022, the Finance Ministers of the EAC member countries, presented their respective budgets for the financial year 2022/23 to the public.
In order to heighten allocation and utilisation of public resources to ensure that there is full transparency and utilisation of public resources, SEATINI Uganda and other Civil Society Organisations in collaboration with Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Uganda Revenue Authority organised the EAC Post Tax and Budget dialogue under the theme: ‘‘Accelerating economic recovery and enhancing productive sectors for improved livelihood in the EAC Region.’’ The Dialogue brought together distinguished officials from government MDAs, private sector, CSOs, youth, MSMEs, women cross border traders, EAC secretariat, policymakers, Parliamentarians and the media.
As part of her keynote speech, the Guest of Honour, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, the 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East Africa Community Affairs, noted that despite notable recent progress in terms of strengthening the mobilization and effective use of domestic resources, there remain loopholes that continue to limit revenue generation outcomes among various EAC member states.
Ms Jane Nalunga, the Executive Director at SEATINI Uganda noted that while the potential benefits from AfCFTA are promising, there are concerns about the likely revenue loss in the short run as a result of the removal of tariffs on imported commodities within the region.
While delivering the speech on behalf of Mr Rujoki Musinguzi, the URA Commissioner General, the Assistant Commissioner, Public and Corporate Affairs, Mr Ibrahim Bbosa noted that Uganda’s current tax to GDP ratio has stagnated at 13%, below the average 16% of Sub Saharan Africa. This has placed us in position where we must turn to external borrowing, which often comes with unfavourable terms and conditions. Developed countries collect more than 30% of their tax on GDP. Research has shown that for any country to develop, it must collect at the very least 20% of its GDP. URA is convinced that it is possible to if every tax-eligible citizen plays their civic duty.
Dr Geoffrey Owich Okaka from URA observed that although there are opportunities that come up with the regional trade, normally what happens is that when there is conflict or disruption within trade across borders, it affects our economy.
Mr Moses Kaggwa, the Director Economic Affairs at MoFPED noted that EAC is still struggling as a region to harmonize taxation systems because member states are still fronting national interests over regional interests.