On March 29, President Yoweri Museveni invoked his constitutional powers and sacked Doris Akol as the Commissioner General of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), and replaced her with John Musinguzi Rujoki.
Two months later, four senior managers at the tax body namely, Dickson Kateshumbwa (commissioner domestic taxes), Henry Saka (Commissioner tax investigations), Silajji Kanyesigye Baguma (Assistant Commissioner large taxpayers office) and Samuel Kahima (tax Auditor domestic tax department) were shown the exit which was however veiled in their voluntary resignations.
The developments led to widespread speculation as regards the real cause of the resignations that the URA board of directors readily accepted.
Addressing Parliament on Thursday, June 11, during the 2020/2021 National Budget reading ceremony, President Yoweri Museveni the changes at URA were part of his plan to get rid of corrupt officials.
“There has been a lot of corruption at URA, but that one, I have cleaned. That crowd at URA whom we [have been] begging as if they are doing us a favour instead of working for their country,” Museveni said.
“Those young people who were given a great opportunity to serve their country were instead doing their other things. We have dispersed them. That URA crowd,” he added.
This is part of the reasons that he blamed for the low tax collections which stand at 14.3 percent which now requires the government to borrow further to finance its development priorities.
“When you borrow, you have to pay interest. I would like the minister [Matia Kasaija] to remind you of how much money we [have to] pay as interest,” Museveni said.
“If you are to see the amount of interest [we pay] each year, it is a lot of money. We are wasting, that money could be doing other things,” he added.
Museveni also reported that emergencies such as COVID-19 that the government has faced in the last six months had slowed down the rate of economic growth.
Instead of the earlier projected growth of 6 percent per annum, the economy is estimated to have grown by 3.1 percent in this outgoing financial year.