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Overseas Development Institue Institue for Fiscal Studies

Modernising tax policy-making in sub-Saharan Africa

This report was commissioned by Mr Moses Ogwapus, the former Commissioner of the Tax Policy Department, in response to issues identified in the development of the Government’s DRMS regarding the tax policy-making process. The work was carried out as a collaboration between the UK Aid-funded projects in Uganda, DRUM and TaxDev.

The objective of the work was to identify changes that could add value, not only in terms of the quality of the technical analysis that supports policy decisions, but also in terms of the institutional and governance framework, the inclusiveness of the process itself, transparency, gender impact awareness and integration with government economic policy. The Report also addresses skills, training, experience and diversity issues of those involved in the tax policy-making process and assesses the structure of the Tax Policy Department itself. It highlights issues about the use of media, including social media. It looks at how TPD prepares tax policy proposals, the contribution that the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) makes to them and how co-operation on tax policy development between government departments is structured.

The report makes wide-ranging recommendations affecting all aspects of the policy-making process.

Using interview evidence to reform tax policy-making in Uganda

The Review was undertaken in accordance with an approach used successfully by the team in several countries, adapted for the Ugandan environment. The principal source of evidence was a series of 36 interviews undertaken with government officials and senior representatives of external organisations, supplemented by documentary reviews. It draws on the comments of interviewees and on international experience of good practice in making Recommendations regarding the reshaping of tax policy-making.

Learning, sharing and creating a new vision of tax policy-making

Tax Policy Department (TPD) staff, at all levels of seniority, were involved in and contributed to the project as interviewees. The initial findings and Recommendations were shared and discussed with TPD in a workshop held in Kampala in November 2019, to which all were invited. The main Recommendations in the Final Report were presented to TPD in February 2020.

Published on: 1st August 2020

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