Traders under their umbrella body Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) have appealed to President Yoweri Museveni not to sign the Income Tax Bill that seeks to exempt Members of Parliament’s allowances from tax.
Speaking at a press conference organized at the KACITA headquarters on Wednesday, Chairperson Everest Kayondo re-echoed the opinions of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and called on the president not to back-track on his original position on this bill.
The president has returned the Income Tax amendment bill to parliament.
“We the business community support the President’s original stand that exempting MPs from paying taxes on the allowance is unfair, and it goes against the principles of an equitable taxation system,” Kayondo said.
Kayondo said that there is need for more tax to be remitted from the tax payers to increase on the 68 % which is being contributed by Ugandans to finance the national budget.
He argued that with the big number of MPs and their ever increasing welfare demands, Parliament should instead be seen to support government efforts to increase domestic revenue which is required by Ministry of Finance to sufficiently deliver on the various national needs.
“The new insertion under the income Tax Bill by Members of Parliament requires MPs to be exempted on paying tax on their emoluments. And if approved this will add MPs to the already exempted special groups like Police, soldiers and prisons,”said Kayondo.
Kayondo said KACITA is of the view that this is unfair as MPs are already among the highly paid categories in Uganda.
The KACITA chairperson further mentioned that traders contribute highly to the local tax collected by URA, adding that by MPs’ choosing to exempt themselves from tax, it is a clear indication that URA will resort to the business community to fill the tax gap.
“If the MPs don’t pay, the burden will obviously be pushed back to us. MPs refusing to pay taxes shows that they are not living an exemplary life to us their electorate,” added Kayondo.
KACITA spokesperson Issa Sekito said that KACITA said the business community is among the greatest contributors to Uganda’s domestic revenue, and any efforts to let off anyone will frustrate their efforts.