Uganda News

Mbarara City will begin civic education on property taxes.

On May 23, 2022, RippleNami Uganda will hold a civic engagement in Mbarara City to explore property owners' rights to service delivery and fair and equitable taxation in the collection and administration of property rates.

On May 23, 2022, RippleNami Uganda will hold a civic engagement in Mbarara City to explore property owners’ rights to service delivery and fair and equitable taxation in the collection and administration of property rates.

The discussion, which will take place at the Acacia Hotel in Mbarara City, is part of the “Services and Fair Tax for Property Owners” campaign, which aims to promote property taxpayers’ rights to quality public services while emphasizing fairness, equity, reciprocity, and accountability from the local government in how property rates are managed.

On March 9, the Mbarara City Authority began property appraisals across the city, with the goal of taxing properties in the following five years, commencing next financial year.

The appraisal process is expected to go until June 10, 2022.

Knight Frank Uganda is conducting a comprehensive GIS-enabled property valuation exercise with the help of USAID as part of the Domestic Revenue Mobilisation for Development (DRM4D) programme.

Mbarara City’s total budget, according to Deputy City Mayor Priscah Mulongo, is Shs45 billion, with Shs9 billion (roughly 20%) coming from local revenue collection from property rates, trading licenses, and other taxes imposed on the business community within the city limits.

The money raised goes toward road construction, sanitation and garbage collection, antimalarial drugs and clean water, and security, among other things, all of which are provided by the City Council.

Mr Samuel Rwakinanga Tayebwa, a revenue collection expert, said that while property rates are an important source of revenue for the city, there are still gaps.

Property rates are supposed to be evaluated every five years, but Mbarara’s last one was in 2015, when it was still a municipality.

The hope is that tax revenues will increase as a result of the current valuation exercise, as many new property developments have occurred since Mbarara was granted city status.

Tayebwa stated that fair taxation is the foundation of service delivery, which every Ugandan must understand if the country is to progress.

“We all have a responsibility to contribute directly to the tax coffers.” We have a small number of contributors, but demand is growing every day. “We all need to work together to broaden the tax base, which will lead to better services,” he said, noting that this time around, civic engagement will focus on involving property owners and residents in local service delivery decisions.

Property taxpayers, he claims, are entitled to high-quality public services and accountability from the City Authority when it comes to the collection and administration of property taxes.

“As a result, local governments, sub-national political leaders, the business sector, and other important stakeholders must work together to educate the people about the balance between revenue generation and service delivery,” he said.

“To complement the current supply-side (local government authority) and restrictions with demand-side (taxpayer) solutions, we must emphasize fairness, equity, reciprocity, and accountability.”

The initiative, Services and Fair Tax for Property Owners, aims to involve property owners in a discussion that will result in a more effective tax system that will increase local services.

All citizens’ quality of life and health are affected by local services. Property values are influenced by local services as well; property values are greater in cities that are well-planned, maintained, and have access to services, and lower in areas that lack these traits.

The information acquired before, during, and after the event will be compiled into a complete report to tell the Mbarara City Authority about revenue shortfalls and opportunities, social fiscal compacts, and advocacy for increased spending based on feedback from property taxpayers.

The civic involvement, which begins in Mbarara, is planned to spread to three more cities: Gulu, Hoima, and Fort Portal.

In June 2020, RippleNami Uganda, a technology firm that provides creative solutions to people across Africa to solve key problems, inked an agreement to deliver the Rental Tax Compliance System to the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development (MoFPED) (rTCS).

It promised to provide cutting-edge traceability and transparency technology to the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) in order to improve rental income tax compliance.

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