Civil Society Asks President to Block MPs Tax Exemptions

2117 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Nicholas Opiyo, the Board Chairman of the Anti-corruption coalition says the decision by the legislators is not only immoral but unjust. Opiyo adds that Ugandan legislators already earn far more than any citizen and are as such obliged to pay taxes.

The Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda is appealing to President Yoweri Museveni not to assent to amendments in the Income Tax Amendment Bill 2016 in which Members of Parliament voted to exempt their allowances from tax. 

Nicholas Opiyo, the Board Chairman of the Anti-corruption coalition says the decision by the legislators is not only immoral but unjust. Opiyo adds that Ugandan legislators already earn far more than any citizen and are as such obliged to pay taxes.

He also questions why the law was passed in the wake of a court process in which the members are appealing against a court order directing Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to deduct taxes from their allowances.

The Parliamentary Commission filed a notice of appeal at the Commercial Court on February 22, 2016 saying that the legislators are disgruntled with a February 2, 2016 ruling by Justice Henry Adonyo subjecting their allowances to taxes.

In the Ruling, Justice Adonyo ordered that MPs allowances which include mileage and constituency allowances, basic pay, sitting allowance for committee sessions, town running allowances, car purchase allowances and gratuity, be subjected to tax.
 
However despite the ongoing process, the law was overwhelmingly passed by parliament and is now waiting presidential assent before implementation. But Opiyo says only the president can save Ugandans from such irresponsible decisions.
 
//Cue in: "Every responsible…
Cue out:..on our tax regime."//

Similarly, ACCU Executive Director Cissy Kagaba describes the move by Ugandan legislators as unpatriotic.  She adds that considering Uganda's debt burden and the low tax base, exempting taxes from Members of Parliament is unacceptable.

    

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.