Traders Agree to Resume Operations After Meeting with Museveni

Traders, expressing dissatisfaction with taxes they perceive as unfair and the implementation of the Uganda Revenue Authority's Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing Solution (EFRIS), have opted to resume operations temporarily while their representatives engage in further discussions with the government.

The decision came after President Museveni instructed the URA to halt penalties against the traders temporarily to facilitate broader consultations, as reported by State House. This development stems from a recent meeting between President Museveni and 61 trade leaders from both Kampala and rural areas at State House Entebbe.

The delegation, led by John Kabanda of the Federation of Uganda’s Traders Associations (FUTA) and Thaddeus Agenda Musoke of the Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA), engaged in discussions primarily centered around business taxation, particularly the EFRIS system. President Museveni pledged to convene with finance ministry technocrats and URA officials on April 24, 2024, for comprehensive consultations, followed by a meeting with all traders on May 7, 2024, at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds.

During the meeting, trade leaders highlighted concerns such as high textile taxes based on weight, fierce competition from manufacturers in wholesale and retail sectors, and the perceived inadequacy of the EFRIS for many traders, leading to penalties for non-compliance. They also advocated for an increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) threshold, currently set at an annual turnover of Shs 150m, among other issues.

Following the dialogue, President Museveni expressed via social media his commitment to addressing the traders' concerns and urged them to consider the broader implications of their trade activities on Uganda's economic growth. He assured them of further research and consultation with technocrats and pledged to convene with all traders on May 7, 2024, to discuss potential solutions. 

Meanwhile, he directed URA to suspend penalties and cease penalty recovery, emphasizing the importance of continued tax compliance. The decision to reopen businesses was welcomed as discussions continue to seek resolution to the grievances raised by traders, who had previously resorted to a strike in protest against the EFRIS implementation by the URA.

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