SEATINI and Other TJAU Members Analyze and Present Tax Proposals on the Tax Bills for FY 2021/22 to the Parliamentary Committee on Finance:
Every Financial Year (FY), the government of Uganda through the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development comes up with new strategies to improve tax collection and plug loopholes within the existing tax system.
On 1st April 2021, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija tabled before Parliament 12 Tax related Bills under which government proposes several tax measures for the FY 2021/22. The Tax Amendment Bills tabled before Parliament for First Reading included; The Traffic and Road Safety Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021, The Fish (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Mining (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Tax Appeals Tribunal (Amendment) Bill, 2021, The Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill, 2021, External Trade (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2021, Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Tobacco Control (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, Tax Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 2021 and Appropriation (Amendment) Bill 2021.
On 8th April 2021, SEATINI Uganda and other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) under the auspices of the Tax Justice Alliance Uganda (TJAU) presented Tax Proposals on the new Tax Amendment Bills for FY 2021/22 to the Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Planning and Economic Development. Prior to this, TJAU members held a retreat during which CSOs analyzed the 12 proposed Bills and provided recommendations.
While presenting the CSO Position on the Tax Bills to the Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Regina Navuga, the Program Coordinator, Financing for Development at SEATINI Uganda who represented TJAU members commended government for proposing the various tax measures in an attempt to widen tax base. However, she sighted out some of the proposed tax measures that might not be practical and also reiterated that based on the analyses undertaken by TJAU members, some of the tax measures might have negative implications on the economy and the livelihoods of the people especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Notably, the proposal to scrap off the Over the Top (OTT) excise duty was welcomed by CSOs. However, TJAU members rejected the 12% excise duty on internet data on the premise that it will not favour embracing digitalization by all citizens and further hinders e-commerce.
In the same spirit, TJAU members called on the Committee and Parliament at large to re-examine the proposed Motor Vehicle license and assess its efficacy because there is a precedence that this tax was already integrated in the price of fuel and its implementation is questionable.
Hon. Henry Musasizi, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Finance thanked the Tax Justice Alliance for the constructive engagement with the Finance Committee. He promised that the Committee and Parliament at large will further review the CSO proposals.
TJAU members will continue to raise citizens’ awareness on tax related matters and also engage Policy Makers to develop and adopt tax policies that promote fairness and equity in the country.