Coffee traders under their umbrella organisation; Uganda Quality Coffee Traders and Processors Association (UQCTPA), on Friday resorted to prayers to save and sustain their business.
The traders have been on a stand off with Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and Ministry of Finance, over the 1 per cent withholding tax, which they say will negatively affect the coffee industry in Uganda.
They held two separate meetings with URA and Ministry of Finance officials over the issue in early July and August, but it seems their plea has hit a dead end, thereby resorting to prayers.
“We have no option but to put our businesses in God’s hands because it’s only God who gives and takes”, said Amos Kasigi, the UQCTPA chairman, during prayers which took place at Delta Hotel in Bweyogerere town, in Kira Municipality.
He called upon the coffee traders to be strong hearted and continue hustling with life because they have no any other way forward, but to face reality squarely.
He said the prayers are first of their kind since inception of UQCTPA in 2011.
Fr Deogratious Kiibi Kateregga, from Kampala’s Rubaga Cathedral conducted the prayers, calling on the coffee traders to focus more on God’s blessings than money.
He said all businesses are run by God and cautioned the coffee traders against working for the devil.
“The devil will leave you to amass wealth, bear as many children as possible and possess many wives, but at the end all your sweat and wealth will go back to the devil, leaving your family in abject poverty”, he said.
“You should in addition not engage in worshiping false gods and visiting witchdoctors, in search of wealth because this will lead you and family to doom”, added Fr Kateregga.
Delta Hotel Proprietor Gerald Jjakira, hailed Fr. Kateregga for the preaching and requested him to make regular prayers to give them courage, which the Catholic Priest accepted.
During their previous meetings with URA, the coffee traders had raised concerns of fluctuating coffee prices in the world market, as major cause to the coffee traders fear to incur huge loses if the 1 Per cent tax is imposed on them.
But URA representative at the meeting Luke Amooti Banabakintu, laboured to explain the tax levied on the coffee traders.
He said URA mandate is to collect taxes on behalf of government and does not make tax laws.
During the second meeting with URA and Ministry of Finance officials, the coffee traders Vice chairman Patrick Nabongo requested government to reduce the withholding tax to at least 0.25 percent.