Merchants and consumers in Mbarara City are expressing concerns about the implementation and usage of electronic receipts by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), urging for more comprehensive awareness efforts on the initiative.
The trading community argues that URA’s Electronic Receipt system appears to primarily benefit the government.
Simon Mwijuka Sezi, Chairperson of the Mbarara City Traders Association (MBACITA), explained that the electronic receipt system’s complexity could lead to additional workforce requirements for traders, possibly impacting their operations.
While recognizing the importance of tax payments for national development, Sezi emphasized that traders and consumers need a clearer understanding of how the electronic receipt system functions before they can fully embrace it.
Emmanuel Muhumuza, Chairperson of the traders in Mbarara Central Market, believes that the electronic receipt system will streamline tax assessment processes.
He noted that previously, discrepancies between revenue collected and what traders believed they had paid caused frustration.
Muhumuza suggested that education and mindset change are crucial for the successful implementation of the electronic receipt campaign.
Richard Mugalula, the URA’s Mbarara Station Head, shared insights into the campaign’s purpose and goals.
He stated that the campaign aims to encourage business owners and consumers to adopt electronic receipts for transaction tracking.
The system allows electronic receipts to be generated through the URA system, offering enhanced visibility of issued receipts.
Mugalula highlighted that the electronic receipt initiative targets taxpayers involved in goods and services subject to value-added tax (VAT).
If a business registers for VAT, the issuance of electronic receipts becomes mandatory as part of the “mpa e-receipt yange” (give me my e-receipt) campaign.
Furthermore, Mugalula explained that the campaign serves the dual purpose of expanding Uganda’s tax register and improving revenue collection.
By implementing electronic receipts, the URA aims to identify fraudulent activities, attract potential taxpayers, and increase overall revenue collection.
The long-term goal is to expand the current tax register of around 2 million individuals to 5 million registered taxpayers.
The traders and consumers are urging for thorough education and clarity on the electronic receipt system’s functionalities, recognizing the potential benefits while also seeking assurance that the initiative won’t unduly burden them with additional complexities.