Workshops such as these have no TIN numbers; this means that they cannot do business with registered companies.Photos/Prossy Nandudu

Workshops such as these have no TIN numbers; this means that they cannot do business with registered companies.Photos/Prossy Nandudu

Through their umbrella organization USSIA, they think this is a wrong approach of widening the tax base because apart from not paying taxes directly, MSME?s offer other benefits through purchasing products for production.

This is according to the executive director, of the Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA), John Walugembe in an interview.

?The approach that URA is using is too punitive, it will see more small businesses closing and this means loss of jobs which companies with tin numbers cannot offer. The better approach should be teaching them the benefits of a TIN and helping them register,? said Walugembe.

He adds that even the approach may not work because the small industries that already have tin numbers are finding it hard to get businesses because URA still gives opportunity to already established businesses.

?So on one hand government is saying we need to promote local industries, increase on the local content and on the other hand they are coming with police to lock out those who would have been supported,? adds Walugembe.

He adds that URA should be partnering with associations and institutions in the sector to educate members on the whole process of tin number acquisition and conditions under which they should get a tin number.

URA responds

The assistant commissioner in charge of trade, at Uganda Revenue Authority, Stephen Magera explains that URA just like any other government institutions is supposed to transact businesses with companies that are tax compliant.

The intension is not to frustrate small businesses or deny them business but to encourage them to formalize by registering and getting a TIN so that they can get more businesses.

He adds that what small scale industries are failing is to adapt to change, which he said URA is working on as part of its ongoing sensitization process to increase awareness of the importance of a tin number.

They have so far trained different traders in Kikuubo, Kiyembe among others and are still carrying out the programme, to ensure that all people and businesses appreciate the use of a TIN.

By Prossy Nandudu, The New Vision

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