President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, through the cabinet, has blocked a move by the country’s tax body, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to access details of bank clients.
The tax body had requested banks and financial institutions in the country to furnish it with customers’ details including addresses, phone numbers, cash deposits, withdrawals and balances.
The move was fiercely contested by the banks, lawyers and Ugandans who voiced their anger through social media.
The Minister of Finance has been directed by to advise URA to drop it's intentions of demanding for omnibus disclosure of people's accounts from banks as this will cause unnecessary turbulence in the banking sector and thus affect the economy.
A Country’s tax code can build or break its economy.This latest— Rwakakamba Morrison (Rwakakamba) 9 avril 2018
URAugandamove to access citizens' bank accounts points to invasion of privacy! Banks trade in TRUST. When trust is injured, there are no Banks! Accounts will now be opened under pillows! What was URA thinking?
Up to 30 commercial Banks under their umbrella association, the Uganda Bankers Association petitioned the Constitutional Court, challenging URA’s request.
But the Cabinet, after a meeting chaired by President Museveni on Monday, asked the tax body to back off.
The cabinet’s decision was communicated to the press by the minister for information and communications technology,Frank Tumwebaze.
‘‘The Minister of Finance has been directed by to advise URA to drop it’s intentions of demanding for omnibus disclosure of people’s accounts from banks as this will cause unnecessary turbulence in the banking sector and thus affect the economy,’‘ the minister said.
Tumwebaze added that URA had been advised to only target accounts of individuals who are a subject of their tax investigation, as has been the practice.