EFRIS (Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing System) is a significant initiative implemented by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to enhance tax compliance and curb evasion. The answer to that question is that, it is debatable. While it aims to modernize tax collection and promote transparency, its implementation in Uganda, a third-world country with a backdrop of infrastructure and network challenges, presents hurdles. While some businesses may benefit from the system, it may not be the same for others. The diversity of Uganda’s population must be considered in the implementation of such systems to ensure equitable access and fair treatment for all. The design of the EFRIS system seems to favor largely business-based and powerful individuals of the upper class, potentially leaving those in the lower class at a disadvantage. It’s important to remember that there are still areas in Uganda without electricity, where business operations continue. Should workers in these areas be penalized for lacking the necessary infrastructure to support the system? The imposition of EFRIS raises questions about the inclusivity and fairness of policies in Uganda, especially in light of existing disparities in access to resources and opportunities

Uganda’s poor infrastructure and unreliable network connectivity make it difficult to fully embrace EFRIS, especially for businesses in remote areas. Furthermore, many business owners in Uganda are illiterate, adding another layer of complexity to the adoption of digital systems. It’s also crucial to note that EFRIS requires all participants to have smartphones, which sets the standards of living in Uganda a bit too high and may exclude those who cannot afford smartphones or lack the necessary technical skills. While the idea behind EFRIS is commendable, it might be premature to fully engage Ugandans in such technology-driven solutions until infrastructure and educational gaps are addressed. Moreover, given the challenges faced with existing online systems like ECMIS (Electronic Court Management Information System), which many Ugandans struggle to navigate, adding EFRIS as another tax-paying technology mechanism may exacerbate difficulties rather than streamline processes. Therefore, it may be prudent to consider dividing EFRIS¬† ¬†implementation into certain types of businesses or exploring alternative solutions that are more accessible and user-friendly for all Ugandans.

So how can we make it work?

Accessibility: URA needs to recognize that not all Ugandans may have access to digitalized smartphones or be literate. Therefore, the government should devise means to accommodate these individuals and ensure that the system works alongside the old system to cater to their needs.

Government Communication: The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) needs to disseminate as much information as possible about EFRIS to facilitate understanding and adoption. Clear, concise, and user-friendly communication will be key to successful implementation. Conducting awareness sessions and enlightenment trainings about the EFRIS system is crucial. These sessions should be diverse, friendly, and inclusive, using various languages to ensure that all Ugandans can understand how the system works. This can be conducted through various channels such as flyers, social media platforms, radio, TV, and other communication networks. By utilizing a diverse range of channels, including local and international media outlets, information about EFRIS can reach a wider audience. It’s important to ensure that these sessions are conducted in localized languages to make the information accessible to all Ugandans. This comprehensive approach to communication will help promote understanding and facilitate the adoption of the new system across the country

The government needs to devise ways to ensure that the EFRIS system is not the sole method of taxation. It should work alongside the existing tax collection systems, allowing for a gradual transition. This approach would provide time and patience for all Ugandans to adapt to the new system at their own pace, ensuring a smoother integration process.

Acknowledgment, Fostering collabouration between the government and citizens is crucial for the successful implementation of the EFRIS system in Uganda. To encourage Ugandans to embrace, adapt to, and acknowledge the new system, we must first appreciate the government’s efforts in taking this step forward, recognizing its potential benefits based on its successful use in other countries worldwide. It’s imperative to work together with the government rather than oppose it, coordinating efforts to address challenges and find solutions.

We commend the public for the Open channels of communication established to facilitate dialogue between the government and citizens, allowing for the exchange of perspectives and concerns. By listening to each other and appreciating the government’s efforts to streamline tax collection to combat corruption, fraud, and embezzlement, we can collectively ensure that the EFRIS system is user-friendly, accessible, and beneficial for all Ugandans. We commend the government for taking a step in the right direction with the implementation of EFRIS, while also emphasizing the importance of addressing the challenges and ensuring that the system is user-friendly and accessible to all.

Overall, the success of EFRIS in Uganda will depend on collaborative efforts between the government, URA, businesses, and citizens to address challenges, provide necessary support, and ensure effective implementation. Uganda must critically evaluate its labor policies, ensuring they cater to the diverse needs of all workers. Caution should be exercised with policies like EFRIS to guarantee equitable benefits, irrespective of socioeconomic status. The Center for Public Interest Law advocates for fair treatment and wishes every worker prosperity and development in their endeavors.

CEPIL LEGAL

Alinda S. Rachel