Legislators have passed a motion urging government to develop a document that will be comprehensive on the taxation policy.
The Buyamba County MP, Gyaviira Ssemwanga expressed concerned during plenary that the domestic revenue mobilisation strategy developed by the finance ministry in 2020 indicates that there is no documented taxation policy for Uganda.
“Government should develop and publicise a comprehensive taxation policy document for Uganda, based on the principals of good taxation,” he said.
Ssemwanga noted that the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development creates a framework to ensure effective implementation of the Domestic Revenue Mobilisation Strategy.
“The absence of a documented taxation policy leaves government with an unfettered discretion on what taxes to levy, what amounts, when to levy and on whom, which leads to an unfair taxation system,” he said.
Dickson Kateshumbwa, Sheema Municipality MP, said that the first tax legislation was in 1919 and since then, we have had tax laws that are not informed by the comprehensive tax policy.
“Taxation is the only practical means of raising revenue that finances goods and services that we all demand. Taxation is more than revenue – it is a tool for development,” he said.
Kateshumbwa, who prior to joining the 11th Parliament was a Commissioner for Domestic Taxes at the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), added that everybody in government needed to take decisions on policy.
Asuman Basalirwa, Bugiri Municipality MP said that a good law is usually preceded by a policy and the concern of the movers is that we have many laws of taxation that are hanging.
“We do not have a policy on tax exemptions in this country. You do not know who and how to access a tax exemption. The finance ministry should come up with a comprehensive evaluation of benefits of tax exemptions for the last 10 years and review the existing exemptions,” Basalirwa said.
Opposition Chief Whip, John Baptist Nambeshe, noted that there is a government weakness of not implementing policies.
“There is a serious government weakness in implementing documents that are developed. Currently, we have the Domestic Revenue Mobilisation Strategy, which is very good, well documented but not implemented,” Nambeshe said.