URA Commissioner General, John Rujoki Musinguzi (2nd Left) displays his award after receiving it from the Minister for Gender Labour and Social Development, Betty Amongi (2nd Right)
The Uganda Revenue Authority’s Commissioner General, John Rujoki Musinguzi, has been awarded the prestigious Always Be Tolerant Organization (ABETO) Africa Award, a coveted recognition accorded to people who greatly impact on their countries.
Presiding over the award ceremony, the Minister for Gender Labour and Social Development, Betty Amongi, said that the awardees are people of great integrity that are being honoured for their personal efforts in national development.
“You have been judged, analysed and your work has been found to be fair by giving equal opportunities to all persons. You have contributed to the co-existence and tolerance,” Amongi stated.
She added that togetherness is Uganda’s pillar to growth.
“Uganda’s Constitution was drawn up with hindsight to allow all segments of society to co-exist, be it gender, religion, tribe or race. Our role is to execute and see how we attain harmony. Each one of us here has an opportunity to individually implement tolerance and non- discrimination,” noted Amongi.
The founder of ABETO, Musana Moses commended Musinguzi for greatly changing the trends of revenue collection and remittance in Uganda.
“Musinguzi is being awarded this year because of the great impact of his leadership at URA in spearheading the team towards achieving Uganda’s economic independence. As ABETO, we recognize your great efforts,” said Musana.
Dr. Livingstone Sewanyana, the Founder and Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) also commended Musinguzi’s job in transforming URA.
“As a revenue collector, it is important to understand why tax is being collected, whether everyone is paying their share of tax with the understanding that burdening only a few individuals is inappropriate. It’s not about you, it is about the service you render to the Public”, Livingstone reckoned adding that ultimately it is about peace, tolerance, freedom, respect for human rights and eradication of poverty.
The ABETO initiative was founded in 1995 following the call of the Queen of England in Harare for tolerance. Later, in 2009 the initiative kick started the ABETO Africa Peace Award – aimed at recognizing the role of Pan African leaders.
In his acceptance speech, Musinguzi dedicated the award towards the tax collectors of Uganda for their willingness to fully embrace the responsibility to grow Uganda.
“I appreciate and humbly accept this award. In the last three years at URA, we have registered revenue increment in 3 digits. Over the last financial year alone, we grew revenue collection by 16.7%, that is about UGX 5 Trillion and we are still doing more. All this was done without introducing new taxes but rather broadening the tax base. With tolerance and peace, URA is going to further increase the number of tax payers so that everyone can contribute their share of tax to Uganda,” noted Musinguzi.
He added that Uganda will one day be fully financially independent and able to fund its needs without begging.
“I dedicate this award to the gallant men and women of the URA for putting in the much needed efforts to ensure that the work is done,” said a broad grinned Musinguzi with an ear to ear smile.
The mother continent’s biggest names were the first recipients of this award. Nelson Mandela was awarded in the class of 2009 and in the class of 2010, the President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni earned the prestigious gong followed by the late President and Father of modern Tanzania – Julius Mwarimu Nyerere.
The other ABETO Africa Award recipients from Uganda this year are The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development – Hon. Dr. Ruth Nankabirwa Sentamu, The Consul of Namibia to Uganda – Godfrey Kirumira Kalule, the Director of Public Prosecutions Lady Justice Francis Abodo, The National Environment Management Authority Executive Director – Dr. Babilega Akankwasa, Uganda’s leading biomedical scientist – Dr. Kiyaga Charles and the Uganda Prisons Commissioner General CG – Dr. Johnson Byabashaija.