Parliament has written off taxes meant to be paid by selected investors to the tune of over Ugx. 500 billion.
This was contained in the Tax Procedures Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019, whose object was “…to write off all unpaid taxes by government as at 30th June 2019.”
Finance State Minister, Hon David Bahati, in his defense of the move, said government had committed to pay the taxes on behalf of the companies, but got stuck because the money to pay the taxes was unavailable.
“A commitment has already been made, but we don’t have the money so the only thing is to write it off,” said Bahati.
Shadow Attorney General, Hon Wilfred Niwagaba questioned government’s intention to pay corporation tax for companies.
“How does government commit to pay corporation tax for individuals and you want us to write it off? How sure are we that these bonuses are not being shared elsewhere?” said Niwagaba.
Oulanyah tasked Minister Bahati to explain why “we are undertaking to pay income tax for people”.
Bahati defended the move, and added that the Shs500 billion only covers the period up to 31st March 2019.
“The commitment is up to the end of the financial year…there will be taxes to pay up to the end of June…this figure is total as at 31 March 2019,”said Bahati.
Tax incentives and write offs for investors have attracted criticism in the past, with many saying such measures rarely extend to indigenous companies.
The beneficiary companies are: Southern Nyanza Ltd, Aya Investment Ltd, Oil Palm Ltd, National Cement and All Nations Christian Care
The list also includes: Arab Contractors Ltd, Roko Construction, Cementers Ltd, Nippon Parts Ltd, Dotti Services and Steel and Tube Industries.
Others are Bugisu Cooperative Union, Cipla Chemical Ltd, Oil Palm Ltd and Mutoni Construction
Scandalous! Unjust! If companies paid their fair share of taxes, there would be more money to give all our children a full round of primary & secondary school education. https://t.co/c2HJ0YQMn3
— Winnie Byanyima (@Winnie_Byanyima) May 9, 2019