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CG Musinguzi rushes to West Nile after spate of killings in URA enforcement operations

By Davis Mugabi

The URA Commissioner General John Musinguzi has resolved together with West Nile Leaders to turn to mass sensitization, refresher courses for enforcement officers, and intelligence-led operations as alternatives to put an end to smuggling in the region amicably.

Musinguzi made this commitment in a stakeholder meeting held at Desert Breeze Hotel, Arua on Monday that saw the State Minister for General Duties – Henry Musasizi together with the CG engaging a contingent of Westnile leaders including MPs, LC5 Chairpersons, Security entity leaders as well as a business community thought leaders.

In previous meetings, the West Nile leaders had strongly condemned the shootings, violence against the Uganda Revenue Authority enforcement team, and smuggling in the region. A position shared by the CG.

“I associate myself with the resolutions of the previous meetings which condemned senseless killings, smuggling, and violence in whatever form,” reckoned CG.

The 4th Division Commander Brig. Gen. Michael Kabango who presented the resolutions agreed upon in the previous meetings after the January incident echoed the condemnation.

“There was a total condemnation of the killings whether deliberate or accidental by security officers, the violent response by the community to enforcement and the act of smuggling and tax evasion,” said Gen. Kabango.

In the Monday meeting, the leaders agreed that taxes must be collected for the country to deliver services albeit amicably.

“Indeed taxes must be collected to enable government deliver the much-needed services to Ugandans and I do not have a problem with tax collection, but the way the enforcement is carried out.”, said The Koboko District Woman Member of Parliament – Hon. Taban Sharifah.

Arua Central Member of Parliament Hon. Atima Jackson Lee Buti echoed this stance noting that he was optimistic about the outcomes of this engagement in driving the region towards peaceful trade.

Musinguzi applauded the leaders for the resolutions and pledged that no more lives should be lost in revenue mobilization. He highlighted different strategies URA is putting in place to avoid the repetition of the unfortunate incidents.

These strategies included intensifying mass sensitization on taxation and its benefits, intelligence-led operations, deepening understanding of what triggers violence, and intensifying training and refresher courses to staff attached to enforcement.

Minister Musasizi applauded the West Nile leaders for the resolutions and urged them to cooperate with URA in the execution of the sensitization campaigns and revenue mobilization initiatives to raise the tax-to-GDP ratio of Uganda from under 14 % to 16 %.

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