Budget Advocacy Group Cautions Against Taxing Essential Products

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Julius Mukunda, the National Coordinator Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group argues against taxing essential products Beatrice Nyangoma

Julius Mukunda, the National Coordinator Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group argues against taxing essential products

In short
However, Julius Mukunda, the National Coordinator Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group argues that taxing essential products such as fuel and commuter taxis would increase the poverty levels amongst Ugandans.

The Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group-CSBAG, a loose coalition of Civil Society Organizations wants government to focus on alternative sources of revenue that will not impact heavily on average Ugandans.

 
On March 25th, 2015, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija unveiled the 2015/16 18 trillion Shillings budget framework paper. The minister proposes new taxes on fuel, commuter taxis, beer, cigarettes, chewing gum, sweets and chocolates.
 
 
However, Julius Mukunda, the National Coordinator Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group argues that taxing essential products such as fuel and commuter taxis would increase the poverty levels amongst Ugandans.
 
 
The Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group proposes taxes on withdraws exceeding 5M shillings and administration of property tax amongst others.
 
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According to the budget frame work paper, the agriculture sector budget has been cut from 501.5 billion Shillings to UGX 454.1 billion Shillings.
 
Mukunda says it is absurd that the agricultural budget does not have any allocations for extension services such as NAADS and yet the NAADS secretariat budget was increased by 44billion Shillings.
 
 
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 Mukunda disclosed this while speaking at a dialogue convened by Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group at Hotel Africana.  He explained that their proposals were made in consultations with Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Bank of Uganda and other budget advocacy organization.
 
Some of the participants at the dialogue welcomed the proposal to reintroduce the graduated tax saying it would reduce the taxes on the agricultural inputs.
 
 
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Apio Polly, a farmer from Katakwi district faulted government for failing to provide funding for extension services. She explained that, many farmers have been relying on extension services to increase their agricultural output. She also claimed that the operation wealth creation program, which would have been an alternative, is poorly managed.
 
 
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The group suggests that investing in parish-level micro irrigation schemes using the already available appropriate technologies, regional food storage facilities and dependable meteorological data are critical.
 

According to the budget framework paper for the Financial Year 2015/16 budget, government's commitment to the education sector has also reduced from UGX 1.8 trillion Shillings in the Financial Year 2014/15 to 1.7 trillion Shillings in the Financial Year 2015/16.
 
 
According to the group, they recommend that the sector should get a mechanism to get means of minimizing ghost pupils being hosted in their budget, endeavor to increase the school inspection grant to 10 billion Shilling and increase the level of funding for the Special Needs Education to 5 billion Shillings.

 

Tagged with: patrick onyango

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