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Uganda taxman shames Gulf Energy for defaulting on Sh180 million

By Patrick Alushula | Published Thu, January 12th 2017 at 00:00, Updated January 11th 2017 at 22:52 GMT +3
A Gulf Energy petrol station. [PHOTO: FILE/STANDARD]

Kenya’s fourth largest oil company by market share, Gulf Energy, has been named in Uganda Revenue Authority’s list of shame for defaulting on tax.

According to a public notice posted on Uganda Revenue Authority’s (URA) portal, the oil marketer owes the authority Sh180.5 million (6.3 billion Ugandan shillings) value added tax (VAT) and Income tax.

In a list of 100 defaulters, Gulf Energy had the highest default on VAT among corporates. The notice put up in the last week of December saw the authority give defaulters a week to clear the arrears to escape closure by the tax agency.

“Whoever will not settle their outstanding liabilities and or produce evidence of payment within the said period shall be enforced upon in accordance with the relevant tax laws,” the notice read in part.

A dissection of the list shows that majority of firms defaulted on VAT, followed by Withholding Tax and Income Tax. In total, URA is seeking to collect Sh1.12 billion (38.8 billion Ugandan shillings) from defaulters. A default on VAT arises when a company fails to remit the taxes it collects upon selling goods and services. Income tax is levied on earnings such as salary.

Therefore, for Gulf Energy to be listed as defaulter means that it was yet to remit the tax revenue it made from selling petroleum products and the amount of money it deducted its employees for tax purposes.

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In Kenya, latest data from Petroleum institute of East Africa shows that Gulf Energy commands 7.4 per cent of overall market share. This makes it fourth after Total (14.4 per cent), KenolKobil (14.1 per cent) and Vivo Enegy (13.7 per cent).

Defaulted on VAT

Another oil marketer, Habib Oil, which set up an office in Kenya in 2010 also made it to the list of defaulters. This was alongside his owner Habib Kagimu, who has been on the list on several occasions.

While on a personal level he owes URA Sh15.6 million (545.8 million Uganda shillings), one of his companies- Habib Oil has arrears of Sh53.8 million (1.88 billion Ugandan shillings).

His real-estate company, Habib Properties has also defaulted on VAT and Income tax valued at Sh37.6 million in a period that also saw Habib Brothers Limited default Sh2.28 million.