URA Commissioner General, Rose Akol.

 

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), has dismissed all claims that Airtel Uganda is the country’s largest tax payer of the financial year 2018/19.

Last month during tax payer’s appreciation week, URA awarded Airtel Uganda with Excel Award for their compliance in remitting taxes to revenue body.

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According to Herbert Ssempogo, an employee in URA’s communication department, their contribution to the tax body did not contribute nor play part in the processes through which a company can be given Excel award.

“How much a taxpayer contributes to revenue is not a criteria in determining who wins the award because the contenders come from a diverse background and operate at varying levels,” he said

He said winners are selected based on their record over the preceding three year period. Among others considerations, the judges’ panel looks at the level of voluntary compliance in areas such as filing of monthly and annual returns by the taxpayer.

He declined to offer revenue rankings saying the policy bars him from disclosing them and they remain confidential unless when court orders.

This website has established that MTN Uganda remitted Shs682 billion and Airtel paid Shs555 billion taxes in the financial year 2018/19. This however, implies that MTN is the giant in terms of paying revenue not Airtel as the media houses peddle stories.

According to the rankings, Vivo Energy paid Shs399.9 billion, Nile Breweries Shs394.8 billion, Bank of Uganda Shs290 billion and Uganda Breweries Limited Shs308 billion.

According to media reports, Airtel Uganda Chief Executive Officer Mr. VG Somasekhar has for the past couple of weeks basked in the media limelight equating the Excel Award to recognition for making the largest tax contribution in the country.

In a January 2019 interview with NTV, Somasekhar revealed that the company had paid corporate tax in Uganda for the first time in 2018 after it posted its first profit in the eight years since it acquired Warid Telecom  in 2013. He attributed the turn of fortunes to having wiped out the losses associated with the acquisition of Warid Telecom, which it bought in 2013, primarily to expand its subscriber base.