Why Lira Hotel Ltd, 291 Suites Hotel and others given tax ultimatum

Lira Hotel Limited owned by NRM's Sam Engola.

Lira – To pay a tax, we are contributing to the gross domestic product (GDP) of our country. And because of this contribution, taxes help spur economic growth which in turn has a ripple effect on the country’s economy; raising the standard of living, increasing job creation, offering service delivery, among other obligations.

And whereas it’s ‘mandatory’ to pay tax, a number of businesses, companies and individuals have often shunned doing so while others do it willingly and on time.

A government agency with full mandate to collect revenue is Uganda Revenue Authority [URA].

On Monday, URA published first batch of country’s tax defaulters in the New Vision newspaper. The tax defaulters’ list consist of companies, businesses and individuals who, after several reminders from the authority to pay their taxes, declined.

Like any other region, northern Uganda have got a long list of defaulters. These companies, businesses and organisations [defaulters] are too popular in the region and have made money.

Some of these businesses are; Lira Hotel Limited, 291 Suites Hotel – Lira (U) Limited, King James Comprehensive School Limited, Acanadiro Hotel Uganda Limited, Kitgum Comprehensive College, Royal Academy, and Aboke High School.

Others include Adwari Secondary School, Amugu sub-county, Dara Christian High School Limited, Gulu Independent Hospital Ltd, Gulu Senior Secondary School, Gunya Company Limited, Gwokgogi Company Limited, Apac Technical School, North Umbrella of Water and Sanitation, Nyeko Blaikare Company Limited, Otumoko Uganda Limited, Awico Engineering Company Limited.

Other defaulters also include; Acholi Pride Limited, Arua School of Comprehensive Nursing, Comboni Samaritans of Gulu, Hotel Pan Afric Ltd, Dr Oryang Secondary School, Oryemcan Company Limited, among others.

Some defaulters outside northern Uganda are; Alliance in Motion Global (Uganda) Limited, Lake Victoria Hotel Limited and many more.

Speaking to TND News on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Ian Rumanyika, URA’s Manager Public and Corporate Affairs said another list of tax defaulters will be published.

“We have decided to publish because they have not complied after several reminders,” he added.

“An ultimatum of two weeks have been given and after that we can enforce using different ways. We will close their business premises, attached their property and prosecution,” Ian further told TND News in an interview.

Asked how much URA is demanding from businesses like Lira Hotel Limited and 291 Suites Hotel – Lira (U) Limited, Mr Ian said, “that’s confidential.”

According to him, exposed businesses and companies have started complying.

Lira Hotel Limited’s past tax record

Lira Hotel Limited popularly known as St Lira Hotel is owned by NRM Vice Chairperson in charge northern Uganda, Hon Sam Engola.

Mr Engola’s hotel is not new to URA shutting.

On Monday 3rd April, 2017, officials from Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) stormed the senior quarters’ based hotel, sealing off the main entrance (reception) with a ‘protective seal’.

In their notice placed at the main entrance, URA wrote: “This place is sealed off over debts. For more information, call URA on………. “Take notice that tempering with this seal is a criminal offense.”

Then, Ian Rumanyika, Manager Public and Corporate Affairs at URA said: “After several meetings with the management to pay its obligations, there was no option but to shut it.”

“The Liability of Lira Hotel from 2012 to date stands at Shs176, 364,030. It included VAT, Income Tax, Corporation Tax and PAYE,” Mr Ian’s comment of 2017 about Lira Hotel Limited, retrieved  

He added: “We have had several meetings, signed an MOU with them and written several letters reminding them to commit but still they could not comply.”

The URA official said then that VAT was most defaulted with its figures standing at Shs130, 135,662. It followed by Corporation Tax that stood at Shs27, 250,050, among others.

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