By 1990 tax revenue in Uganda had declined to 5% of GDP. Revenue was heavily dependent on export taxes, which discouraged exports. This chapter discusses the policy and administrative measures taken during the 1990s to make the tax system more transparent and productive. Export taxes were replaced by import taxes, which were progressively reduced to relatively low levels. The most significant single reform was the introduction of Value Added Tax in 1996. Despite initial resistance by traders, strong political support enabled VAT to take root. The Uganda Revenue Authority has spearheaded revenue administration reform since 1991. This chapter discusses the key drivers in setting up an autonomous revenue agency, the successes and challenges in revenue administration, and what could have been done better. It also looks at the challenges and lessons of implementing VAT in an environment of low tax compliance.
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