Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi wants the Bonafide Occupant Act amended to allow the authority collect tax from owners of properties in well-established areas around the city.
Musisi made the call yesterday while appearing before the committee on Commissions Statutory Authority and state Enterprises, to respond to queries raised within the Auditor General’s report of 2013/ 2014.
In the report the auditor general noted that the authority had failed to collect receivables amounting to Shs. 58b in 2013 /2014 and of these, property rates accounted for Shs. 49b, while ground rent was Shs10b.
Musisi said the Authority still has a challenge of collecting this tax, and appealed to parliament to amend the law so that they can also collect tax from high class places even though their owners do not generate any income from these properties.
“We want government to consider reviewing the law and making it progressive so that everybody makes a percentage contribution depending on the property, where it is located and its worth but at least make a contribution,” Musisi said.
Musisi said it was unfair that the richest residents in the city only look on while the low income communities pay for the services they consume.
She also expressed reservations on the Solicitor General’s interpretation of the Property Tax, stopping education institutions endowed by government from paying tax.
An interpretation by the solicitor general in September last year of the Local Governments Rating Act (2005) established that institutions that receive endowments from the government are exempt.
This is an opinion that officials from KCCA have sharply criticized arguing that grants from the government are not endowments; Musisi asserted that these institutions make money from tuition and use city services making them liable to pay tax for these services.
However MPs took exception to the fact that the government waived payment of property rate arrears in the FY 2015/2016 by government institutions and yet this money is appropriated.
The committee chairperson Abdu Katuntu was particularly displeased with this revelation and requested for a list of defaulters of property rates to be presented on Wednesday.