Omoro district local government is struggling to collect local revenue using the Integrated Revenue Administration System –IRAS. The web and mobile application based system aids in the collection of local revenue right from registration, assessment, billing, and payment sensitization of taxpayers.
However, Omoro district is failing to use the system because Parish Chiefs and Town Agents lack knowledge on how to use the system, poor network in remote areas as well as scepticism by the taxpayers who fault the authorities for not sensitizing them.
Douglas Peter Okello Okao, the Omoro District LC V Chairperson told URN in an interview that the Local Government Ministry through the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda –DINU Project trained the staff on how to use IRAS but that the training was inadequate.
He says that the newly recruited Parish Chiefs and Town Agents do not how to use the system, something that is affecting local revenue collection.
According to Okao, poor internet connection in the hard–to–reach areas has also greatly affected the remittance and transmission of local revenue to the central government.
He says that they were only able to collect Shillings 271 million out of their projection of Shillings 518 million in local revenue this financial year 2021/2022 by the end of the second quarter.
Okao says that they have raised concerns with the Program Implementation Unit under the Local Government Ministry to address the challenges.
Charles Ocen, the Orapwoyo Sub–County Chief told URN in an interview that out of the six Parish Chiefs in the Sub –County, only two were trained to use IRAS.
The remaining four parish chiefs are new recruits. Ocen says that while they wait for the intervention of the central government, they have asked the two trained Parish Chiefs to train their colleagues on how to use the system.
He says that in addition to the lack of skills, they also face the challenge of inadequate gadgets and poor internet connectivity. Omoro District has 65 Parish Chiefs and Town Agents spread across the Sub –Counties and Town Councils.
One of the Parish Chiefs who declined to be named told URN that they sometimes walk long distances in search of an internet connection to be able to remit the revenue collected. The source also notes that their colleagues who were trained how to use IRAS do not want to teach the newly recruited staff, something that is affecting their work.
Damasco Odongo, the Proprietor of Opit Modern Primary School, says that the district authorities have not fully sensitized the taxpayers on the digital system making it hard for the taxpayers to embrace it. He says some traders have never heard of the IRAS.
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