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Tax Rich More

Left to right: Rubanda East MP Henry Musasizi, Ms Jane Nalunga, the country director, SEATINI Uganda and executive director Elliot Orizaarwa Tumwijukye during the breakfast meeting in Kampala.

Wealthy Ugandans must pay more taxes, a group of civil society organizations (CSOs) advocating for fair and equitable taxation have said. As at 2009 for example, the top 0.5 per cent of taxpayers in United Kingdom paid 17 per cent of total income tax. In Germany, the top 0.1 per cent paid 8 per cent, and in United States of America, the top 1 per cent paid about 40 per cent of federal income taxes.

According to the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI-Uganda), Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group and OXFAM, there is evidence that taxing rich individuals more can lead to significant boosts in revenue.

Speaking yesterday in a meeting where the CSOs presented alternative tax proposals to the parliamentary committee on finance, SEATINI-Uganda country director Jane Nalunga said the wealthy should contribute more in terms of taxes than it is currently the case.

She said: “We need development but the question is where the money will come from. I think we must mobilise it domestically and we should begin by having the rich pay more and the poor pay less taxes.” She continued: “We must be fair and equitable and not having those who can pay more pays less.”

In his submission, committee chairperson Henry Musasizi Ariganyira, who is also the Member of Parliament for Rubanda, said currently, the process to change the tax law with view of accommodating some of the CSOs proposals is underway. He also noted that property tax is not enforced as it should be, saying most property moguls in the country are out of the tax man radar.

Mr Lawrence Bategeka, the MP for Hoima Municipality, and also the vice chairperson of the committee, on national economy said in an interview yesterday that taxing the rich is a good proposal that will be difficult to enforce unless a parameter and a data base of who is rich has been instituted. However, for the beginning he said: “Most of these rich people invest in properties so their properties should be directly taxed irrespective of how they acquired it.”