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IT guru Robert Mutebi gives URA its Digitization and IT Strategy after 2 years in office

Robert Mutebi, the Commissioner of Information Technology and Innovation at the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), delivered a 3-year digitization and IT strategy on Friday.

Mutebi joined URA on November 1, 2021.

During the launch of the strategy at the URA headquarters, Collin Babirukamu, the Director of e-Government Services at the National Information Technology Authority of Uganda (NITA-U), who was on the panel, joked that if the URA does not pay Mutebi well, NITA-U could take him.

He was recognizing Mutebi’s good work towards digitizing the Authority.

The digital strategy is aimed at instant, inclusive, and interoperable tax administration.

Mutebi says the digital strategy takes care of all the customer’s value propositions (reliable and accurate data, an accurate ledger, and being customer-centric, among others).

Launch of the strategy

Speaking at the launch of the strategy in Nakawa on Friday, Hon.Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development pledged his support towards URA ‘s digital transformation journey.

He however, challenged the URA team to push up the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio to 20% in the next 2-3 years despite a slight increase to 14% .

“I am tired of borrowing, please save me from the humiliation of getting money that has strings attached. We need revenue to create valuable jobs for our youth, support industries, build schools, hospitals and other infrastructure,” Kasaija said of URA ‘s task ahead.

The Commissioner General, John R. Musinguzi on the other hand promised that with the progressive journey in information technology innovations, URA will continue adding value to its mission of mobilizing revenue for National development in a transparent and efficient manner.

“Technology is the future to handling revenue effectively, increases transparency and minimizes the conflicts around tax compliance,” Musinguzi emphasized.

He explained that URA has earmarked 5 areas that will help government generate enough revenue. These included;digitizing all URA processes to make them efficient and transparent,ensuring all URA staff serve with integrity and professionalism,stakeholder engagement and tax sensitization plus investing in innovation and research for improved data.

Musinguzi also narrated the I.T transformational journey that started in 2009 with acquired systems like Etax for domestic taxes and Asycuda for international trade in customs.He added that this year has marked a new phase of simplifying taxation and big data analytics through the fully fledged data centre.

He thanked the Government of Uganda for always investing in the ICT sector which has helped in transforming of not only tax processes but URA interaction with her stakeholders.

“I want to assure you that every money you entrust us with, will be well spent on machine leaning technologies and digital systems. For now, we have the number one data centre in this country and have acquired a number of technologies through reduced costs,” Musinguzi boasted.

Sheila Ngatia, the Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme congratulated URA and said that the digital strategy was in line with the government ‘s digital agenda that focuses on five key pillars: skills development, digital services, cybersecurity, innovation and entrepreneurship, and the necessary enabling environment and infrastructure.

“I am glad that the URA digital strategy will focus on increasing efficiency as well as leverage on ICT to enhance operations and improve capability in mitigating revenue leakages,” she added.

She encouraged URA to invest in robust cyber security and ensure that all Ugandans are empowered to enjoy the efforts of a digitalized economy.

At the launch, Robert Mutebi, the Commissioner Information Technology & Innovation noted that Digital transformation is a critical component towards improving tax administration especially in terms of efficiency, speed-to-serve and capacity to draw insights from the big data flows in different formats from taxpayers.

Meanwhile, URA has rolled out the following solutions to ease compliance of taxpayers and their interaction with URA. These include; Electronic Receipting and Invoicing System (EFRIS) for e-filing and e-invoicing, Digital Tax stamping (DTS) for manufacturers, Customer Relationship Management tools, Non-intrusive inspection with scanners at the customs boarders, Bond Warehouse management system, Rental Tax Income Management solutions, a Call centre that serves through multiple touchpoints (WhatsApp, web, email)and several taxpayer interface enhancements like the  web portal, the Mobile App and the new USSD menu.

Robert Mutebi  

Mutebi’s role at the URA is to drive the digital agenda through innovation and automation.

Prior to joining URA, Mutebi worked with dfcu Bank as Head of Business Technology. He has also previously served as Senior Manager: Technology Solutions at MTN Uganda, among other senior management roles. He is a respected business, strategy, leadership, and technology (products and solutions) professional. He boasts 20+ years of team leadership experience, 18+ years’ experience in IT and telecoms, and 15+ years of supervision and management.

Mutebi is a Chartered Manager from the Chartered Management Institute (UK), a digital finance professional, an ITIL and CISM certified manager, and a John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach. He also holds an MBA from Leicester University, among others.

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