UGAMOD – simulating tax and benefit policies for development in Uganda

UGAMOD model is freely accessible for non-commercial research use. You may request access to the model here.

UGAMOD, the tax-benefit microsimulation model for Uganda, is a highly versatile yet easy to use tool for policy makers and researchers alike. It allows the user to analyse and compare the effects of different benefit policy scenarios on poverty, inequality, and government revenues. The model applies user-defined tax and benefit policy rules to micro-data on individuals and households and calculates the effects of these rules on household income.

With UGAMOD, users can simulate reforms of the Ugandan tax and benefit system. They can estimate, for example, the number of beneficiaries and analyse the characteristics of the prospective recipients of a hypothetical benefit. UGAMOD also allows users to implement hypothetical income tax and social security reforms and calculate their effects on inequality and the government budget. Existing policies or past policy reforms can be evaluated as well.

UGAMOD can answer for example following questions:

  • Do the prospective recipients of a new cash transfer work in the formal or informal sector?
  • How much would the proposed policy cost?
  • How could tax rates be increased to offset additional expenditures on social protection?

Possible policy reform simulations in UGAMOD include:

  • a scaled-up senior citizens grant
  • a universal child benefit
  • a universal old-age pension
  • a youth unemployment benefit

UGAMOD has been developed in co-operation with the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Makerere University, and Southern African Social Policy Research Insights (SASPRI). UGAMOD is based on the Uganda National Household Surveys (UNHS) from 2016–17 and 2021–21 allowing for representative results on the national and sub-national level. Policies are simulated for the years 2016–23.

The model was launched in 2019, back-to-back with the first training course on the model. In 2019-20, UGAMOD was used to simulate the distributional effects of excise duty taxes in Uganda. The preliminary results were presented in a policy workshop in Kampala in March 2020. A complete analysis was published by UNU-WIDER in June 2020. More recently, UGAMOD has been used to analyse the presumptive tax regime in the country.

The training course in 2021 was the first training under the SOUTHMOD project that was delivered fully online. In 2022 and 2023, training events were organized as research retreats, intended to empower participants to use the model to answer specific policy questions and to develop policy notes based on model simulations.

In Uganda the co-operation with URA also covers administrative tax data work in the country, conducted under the Building up efficient and fair tax systems project.


Uganda Country Report v2.1

Technical note

How to implement sub-national poverty lines in a SOUTHMOD country model using conditional constants. The case of UGAMOD