By Stephen Wandera
KAMPALA, Civil society and business community have told government to review its tax policy that favors foreigner at the expense of Ugandans. They also requested parliament to amend the Income Tax law to reduce the period of tax exemption.
“As we give foreign investors incentives, we should not leave the locals crippled. Let us give investors incentives as we are mindful of growing the locals economically,” said Mr Moses Dombo, the country director, Oxfam Uganda.
The gap between the rich and poor is growing bigger and bigger, said Mr Dombo at the launch of a report titled, ‘fair tax monitor study Uganda’ carried by Oxfam and Seatini Uganda, Wednesday January, 23rd, 2019.
He added, “Tax should be reflected in the social services like health, agriculture and education which are not the case. You go to a school and children are seated on the floor. Agriculture extension services are nonexistence. Why should a private doctor have a better scan than government?”
Ms Regina Navuga, the programme officer, Seatini Uganda said in 2016/17 Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) lost Shs823.4 billion in tax incentives and exemptions.
Ms Hope Katwiine, the vice chairperson, Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) decried the high and interest rates that are pushing them out of business.
“You come from a business trip with a Chinese, on arrival at Entebbe as you are filling tax forms, the Chinese just passes. We pay tax of 56 percent of the cost value. Interest rates are also too high,” she said. Adding, “Many of our members have lost businesses due to bank loans and high tax.”
Ms Katwine further added, “Government is now waking up to ban foreign firms in sports betting business. This should apply to all sectors.”
Ms Navuga recommended for the amendment of section 22 of the income tax be amended to lower tax exemption to five years which is open.