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Traders in Uganda Close off Shops Over EFRIS Tax System

Kampala and Uganda as a whole traders strike over EFRIS taxing system

Traders in Kampala and Uganda at large have staged a strike by closing off their shops over the Uganda Revenue Authority’s attempt to impose the Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing Solution (EFRIS), aimed at addressing tax administration challenges.

This system is yet to be implemented by the tax collecting body URA but the traders have already shown opposition towards it. Although the focus has been largely on Kampala, this appears to be a nationwide strike.

Traders want this new tax system EFRIS to be reversed before they can reopen their shops. To quell the situation, tear gas and security personnel have been deployed in some parts of the city like Kikuubo market.

In Kampala, the traders under their umbrella, Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) said that they reject the 18% VAT tax introduced by URA alongside the EFRIS system. Additionally they said that they aren’t into politics yet politicians who draft these policies keep dragging them into the political arena.

The Public Relations Officer at URA Ibrahim Bbosa revealed that despite having about 4000 VAT registered users in Kikuubo market, the issuance of EFRIS remained low. They have therefore decided to intervene to solely enforce and oversee compliance reports.

Kampala and Uganda as a whole traders strike over EFRIS taxing system

According to the traders, they listed some of their major concerns about the whole strike. Some of the reasons they gave are as follows:-

“1. High import values (old ones) making it hard for traders to clear their goods

  1. Impractical 3.0 and 3.5 USD/KG import duty on garments and textiles, We want 25% import duty on these items.
  2. High-interest rate, making the cost of business financing very expensive
  3. EFRIS system should go back to manufacturers and big suppliers but not small businesses.

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  1. Violation of trade order where manufacturers end up wholesaling and retailing to the end user
  2. Inadequate business support especially to SME’s right from the Covid situation. The Covid recovery packages never reached the intended audiences.
  3. High cost of living where most of the essential goods are becoming.”

It’s not known how long this strike will last. Police has been seen in Kikuubo opening up the area for business although all the shops are closed. The relevant authorities are trying to mediate with the traders to see that this situation is brought to an end.