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Under Pressure, Kateshumbwa Rolls Out Formula 1 Model to Boost Domestic Taxes

The Commissioner Domestic Taxes (DT) at Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Dicksons Kateshumbwa, has rolled out what he described as the Formular 1 Grand Prix model to boost staff morale with the view of hitting ambitious tax collection targets.

The development comes after President Museveni sacked URA Commissioner General Doris Akol.

Insiders say Museveni was bitter with Akol for falling short in collecting domestic taxes especially at a time government needs abundant resources for its ambitious infrastructural projects.

Museveni had earlier warned against incompetence, corruption and laziness at URA, threatening to crack the whip.

Amid pressure from the president, URA top managers are moving swiftly to trigger a sharp rise in tax collections.

In a memo to URA staff, which ChimpReports has seen, Kateshumbwa said he was “Introducing F1DT Grand Prix, our new brand – Focus, Speed and Precision (FSP)” to guide tax collectors.

“As the Airbus A380 roars in the skies (International Trade), we shall roar and conquer the ground (Domestic) from every corner of Uganda. This will define our new culture effective now. This F1 DTGP must have everyone switched on…from Drivers (Commissioner and AC’s), Engineers (Managers), Pit stop (Supervisors), communication and ground staff. We all have to work together in a synchronized and coordinated manner to deliver the checkered flag (revenue and service) to our fans (Citizens and other clients) in the stadium. To deliver this, there has to be 100% FSP….i.e. Zero margin of error,” said Kateshumbwa.

“We shall be driving different machines – Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, ……Renault among others and these represent 6 divisions. Formula One cars are the fastest regulated road course racing machines in the world owing to very high cornering speeds achieved through the generation of large amounts of aerodynamic down force. We shall compete but a different form of competition…one that has all of us winners and arriving at the checkered flag together,” he added.

“No car must be left behind! The difference should be micro seconds! Everyone must race. The word Formula refers to the set of rules to which all participants’ cars must conform.

We must drive the cars together following the leaders in one direction…..i.e. zero tolerance to defiance and staff setting their own race tracks.  Strictly this race must take place on the purpose-built circuit hence no driving on the grass (Lack of Integrity) This will be an automatic red line and will have a red card.

We must arrive at the checkered flag ahead of set time – that is surpassing the targets. There will be no time for stories.”

Evasion

Multi-national companies operating in Uganda are finding ways to declare lower profits to avoid paying their fair share of taxes through aggressive tax planning structures.

Africa is estimated to be losing more than $50b in illicit financial flows every year, with Uganda specifically losing in excess of sh2 trillion annually.

Museveni recently said revenue collection is central to Uganda’s economic independence and national sovereignty and as such scientific measures to support tax compliance are to be fully supported.

He proposed measures to combat the vice, including the establishment of non-intrusive inspection cargo scanners at all Ugandan border posts, electronic monitoring and digital stamping of goods in production, monitoring of all money transfers.

Other measures including strengthening of input and output analysis and chemical analysis, use of electronic fiscal devices to monitor shop sales electronically and use of geo-mapping of rental properties to avert under declaration in the real estate sector.

Action

Kateshumbwa told staff that “The cars must roar and be heard” and called for “high morale and motivation.”

He said drivers, engineers and other leaders must drive the cars correctly, at right speed, with right strategies, zero tolerance to mediocrity, indecision and guess work.

He said fans (taxpayers) must be respected, entertained and served, emphasizing, “we must offer delightful service beyond expectation because they (fans) pay for the race.”

He said however difficult, “fans who may want to run unto the race track, or enter the stadium without tickets must be restrained firmly. The cost of non-compliance must be raised.”

According to Kateshumbwa’s new guidelines,  all the departmental measures will be reviewed and new KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) developed.

“These KPIs must be Qualitative, Quantitative and Time bound. They will be developed from the Four (4) broad categories – Facilitation /Service, Revenue, Compliance and Administrative. Every staff’s performance must be measured on the individual KPIs cascaded. There will be no free-riders. There will also be no free riding on normal flow. Normal flow is mine. My KPI is to create a conducive environment for normal flow and also lead you to add value individually (on which you will be measured). Any work that cannot be measured will not be done,” said Kateshumbwa.

“We shall have DT Council comprising Commissioner, AC’s, Managers, Supervisors and Station Heads established. This council shall meet twice a year to discuss strategies and review performance. In this Council, everyone’s voice will be heard and strategies, plans will be collectively owned. Council members will be expected to explain and mobilize their forces on the ground to support the strategies and resolutions,” he added.

A Capacity building strategy is set to be developed to enhance skills for immediate role performance and expertise.

URA shall have full time training programs running at particular hours of day focusing mainly on on-the-job practical trainings for competence and skills maintenance to ensure everyone is equipped to perform day today job (to my high expectations).

ChimpReports understands some functions will be reviewed, restructured or re-aligned to enhance efficiency such as the Central Operations Office will be the National Targeting Center incorporating robust data analysis, counter intelligence operations.

Some processes will be reviewed and some manual ones automated.

“Whatever does not bring value or make sense must be discarded. We shall introduce evening and night operations to cater for client needs but also tap into the night economy. We shall introduce a robust 360 degree end to end Pyramidal Compliance strategy,” said Kateshumbwa in a memo, adding, “We shall establish and strengthen enforcement capacity and prosecution.”

He said everyone’s mindset needs to be mobilized and centered around the common ideology and mission – delivering expectations of Uganda.

“We are the new soldiers of wanainchi….this mission is noble and must be understood. It is the beginning of our conversation. Everyone must be ideologically oriented and grounded. Uganda comes first. We have been entrusted with the honor to serve and this we have accepted, we therefore must serve with sacrifice, integrity and zero sense of entitlement. Our efforts will build more roads, put medicines in the hospitals, pay salary to our security forces to maintain peace, attract investors to invest in Uganda and create jobs, enable children to go to school, etc. If anyone differs from this noble mission…..it’s time up. This is our common denominator.”

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