Audit Reveals Significant Revenue Loss in Uganda’s Mineral Exports


Kampala, Uganda HABARI DAILY I The Uganda Revenue Authority’s (URA) Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) has revealed that 22 mineral categories, other than gold, were exported without any tax assessment, resulting in a staggering loss of sh72.490 billion.

The annual review conducted by the Auditor General uncovered 6,469 instances where various minerals were exported without the required tax assessment and subsequent payment. The report highlights the gravity of the situation, emphasizing the significant revenue loss incurred by the country.

The Auditor General’s report, titled “Annual Report of the Auditor General to Parliament for the Financial Year ended 30th June 2023,” sheds light on the URA Commissioner General’s explanation for this lapse. According to the Commissioner General, the absence of enabling laws for the collection of export levies on the listed minerals was a major contributing factor to this oversight.

“I advise the Government to expedite the enhancement of existing laws and policies to facilitate the collection of revenue from all minerals exported,” urged John Muwanga, the Auditor General, in response to the findings.

Civil society activists and economic observers have long raised concerns about the lack of clarity in Uganda’s export figures, particularly for commodities like tea and gold. They argue that despite the country reporting millions of dollars in returns, there is little or no transparency in the proper valuation of these exports.

A representative from Global Rights Alert highlighted another alarming trend, revealing that approximately 70% of the gold exported from Uganda is in its raw and unrefined form. This practice has resulted in substantial losses in tax revenues for the country.

The broader context of illicit financial flows adds to the complexity of Uganda’s revenue challenges. According to data from the Bank of Uganda, the country loses an estimated sh2 trillion annually to illicit financial flows. Experts believe that this figure might be even higher, considering the global disparities in reporting and tracking such activities.

As stakeholders grapple with the findings of the audit, calls for urgent legislative reforms and enhanced monitoring of mineral exports are gaining momentum. The Government is under increasing pressure to address these issues promptly and implement measures to safeguard the country’s economic interests.

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