Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) President, Hon. Jimmy Akena has called upon the Government to place the interest of the common man at the centre, while addressing the ongoing standoff between traders and Uganda Revenue Authority over taxes.

Hon. Akena, while addressing a Press Conference in Kampala, said UPC has been keenly following with concern the discrepancies in the issue of tax waivers, which has highly favoured foreign investors at the expense of the local traders.

“Much as we need to influence foreign investment as a country, we should not allow sacrificing our local companies. This may undermine our efforts to Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU). UPC therefore demands for fairness and equity in the implementation of such policies (tax waivers) without discrimination to reduce the impasse in the trade sector”.

He said the National Budget of Uganda continues to increase year-in-year-out in the wake of Uganda’s struggling economy, thus forcing the Government to initiate new tax policies and programs to collect the targeted UGX. 31.574 trillion Taxes in the FY 2024/25, with the taxpayer hoping for good service delivery return, which of late, is a tall order especially in health, education and social welfare programs hence escalating tension!

“UPC holds the view that such Government policies should be fair to the citizens and there must be equitable access to opportunities and services. For instance, in 2018, UPC opposed the infamous Over-The-Top (OTT) tax on data as it was very unfair to the taxpayer and a hindrance to the growth of the digital economy in Uganda, which was later abandoned by the Government”, he said in a statement.

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He added that; UPC’s view was and is still the same on the mobile money tax, saying much as the Government is trying to enhance the tax revenue, it is a bad idea to over stretch the taxpayer!

“UPC believes that involving stakeholders in formulating policies is key and educating them about the same is very paramount! All along, Uganda has been registering industrial unrest especially in the health and education sectors”, he pointed out.

On the recently introduced Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing Solution (EFRIS) initiative by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), under the Domestic Revenue Mobilization Program, Akena said this has increased tension between the traders and URA leading to business closure in Kampala and other parts of the country.

“At a time when businesses are just recovering from the consequences of Covid-19 lockdown, EFRIS does not only affect internal business transactions and collection of Government revenue, but also puts Regional trade at stake”, he said.

He pointed out that; UPC noted that EFRIS started with big business establishments; like industries and super markets among others.

“Extending EFRIS policy to medium sized business establishments has been a challenge as our business community lacks sufficient knowledge on this new tax initiative”, he added.

UPC calls upon URA to go slow while implementing the EFRIS program. Hon. Akena says; focus and emphasis should be put on educating and engaging the business community about such policies on a regular basis.

 

The post Place Interest of the Common Man at the Centre – Jimmy Akena appeared first on Watchdog Uganda.

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