Outrage Over New Tax Regime


symptoms geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>The fury was sparked by Minister Maria Kiwanuka’s introduction and reinstatement of taxes on various essential products and services, which the politicians believe will make life of the ordinary Ugandan difficult.

Kiwanuka, while presenting the budget to Parliament at Serena Hotel on Thursday evening, announced among others, reintroduction of taxes on income generated by owners of privately-owned education institutions.

Amidst loud heckling from the House, the minister justified this measure saying it was consistent with the principle of equity and transparency of the tax regime and that it would broaden the tax base to bring in more people to the tax net.

The measure, she said, is expected to pull about Shs15billion to the national coffers.

She further scrapped tax exemption on the supply of other essential school necessities like printing materials for schools.

“I propose to terminate the exemption on income derived by a person from managing or running an educational institution for commercial gain. This is consistent with the principle of equity and transparency in tax regime, and broadening the tax base by bringing more taxpayers into the tax net. This measure is expected to generate Shs.15 billion,” said Kiwanuka.

Kalungu West Mp Hon Joseph Sewungu, lashed out at government for imposing taxes on institutions providing such essential services that government has failed to.

“Taxing private schools will push them to hike fees unreasonably and it will be the parent to bear the burden,” he told us in an interview.

Sewungu went on to point out that an increase on mobile money withdraw services would bore more holes in the pockets of the school fees payer.

“Government knows very well that majority of parents are poor and they predominantly use the mobile money system to pay fees in small amounts,” he said.


Speaking to our reporter at the sidelines of the event, Western youth MP Gerald Karuhanga also expressed disgruntlement with what he termed as politicization of the national budget by President Yoweri Museveni and the NRM government.

Karuhanga wondered why the president has of late talked big about enhancement of agriculture which employs over 70 percent of the national population, yet it only came third in this year’s top budget priorities.

Makerere university top economist Prof Augustus Nuwagaba also expressed concern over the new taxes on schools and other essential materials and services.

Minister Kiwanuka announced introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) on new computers, desktop computers, accessories and software, liquid petroleum, cooking gas, salt, sugar, insurance services, agricultural and dairy machinery among others, all expected to raise about Sh 215billion.

This, professor Nuwagaba said would have a negative impact on the lives of the local person.

He noted, “For instance we hoped that government was taking long strides in enhancing ICT training. Why do you introduce a tax on computers?”

While government is struggling to expand its tax base, Nuwagaba noted that caution needed to be taken to ensure that services and goods on which the ordinary person’s life is hinged should not be overly tampered with

Speaking at the event, president Museveni directed the Ministry and Uganda Revenue Authority to ensure that the national tax base is sufficiently expanded to avoid dependence on external assistance.

He also called upon Parliament not to object the proposed taxes.


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