When MTN sold some of its assets to America's Tower Corporation, the Uganda Revenue Authority recorded an annual revenue surplus, a first in more than two years. The deal brought in Shs 63bn in capital gains tax, according to the URA.
Stamp duty on Tullow Oil's sale of two thirds of its assets to French oil major Total, and China's CNOOC, also helped URA beat its annual tax collection target, which, as early as May, was seen as impossible.
URA's Shs 6.2 trillion collection, recording a Shs 39bn tax revenue surplus, was a surprise in a number of aspects: the ministry of finance had by March declared that URA was expected to record a shortfall based on its poor first half performance, while a depressing growth of the economy of 3.2% - the lowest in more than 20 years - made matters worse.
Much of the money came from the domestic tax base, accounting for 53%, up one percentage point. There were strong performances across the board: banking, telecoms, beer firms, and the electricity industry.
Some areas recorded shortfalls, though. Pay As You Earn, withholding tax, local excise duty on phone talk time, local VAT on sugar and VAT on piped water, VAT on imports, petroleum duty, all recorded deficits.
Much of the shortfall was as a result of the high inflation rates, a weak global economic outlook as a result of the Eurozone debt crisis, which dampened demand for Uganda's exports, and volatility in the exchange rate system.
Allen Kagina, the URA Commissioner General, said there were doubts the tax body would meet its target. Indeed, as early as May, the shortfall was estimated at Shs 66bn, leaving the tax body with just one month to turn around this figure.
"We also experienced high staff exits for greener pastures where about 156 members left. But also cyber fraud cases at the vehicle registration unit and loss of vital documents due to office breakages hampered our performance," said Kagina.
James Kisaale, assistant commissioner for enforcement, says they also managed to recover Shs 15bn using various enforcement interventions. The most smuggled goods included: hides and skins, foot wear, garments, and motor vehicle tyres, among others. URA's set target net revenue is Shs 7.2 trillion in the financial year 2012/13.