HAKIM KYESWA: Ugandan Traders & Fight For Fair Taxation: Museveni Must Hear Their Plea For A Sustainable Economy

It is no secret that taxation is an essential aspect of any country’s economy. It is the main source of revenue for the government, which uses these funds to provide essential services and infrastructure for its citizens. However, when taxation becomes excessive and burdensome, it can have a detrimental effect on businesses and ultimately the entire economy. This is precisely the situation being faced by traders in Uganda as they struggle with more than double taxation.

The recent protests by traders, who have been forced to close their shops, have shed light on the issue of double taxation that has been plaguing the country for years. Traders in Uganda are required to pay a staggering amount of taxes when importing goods. This includes a 30% import tax, 6% withholding tax, 18% value-added tax, 2.5% exercise duty, and a 1.5% infrastructure levy. This means that traders are paying a total of 58% in taxes on goods they bring into the country.

One of the main reasons for this high tax burden is the implementation of the e-receipt system. While this system was intended to make tax collection more efficient, it has only added to the burden on traders. The e-receipt system requires traders to pay an additional 18% VAT on top of the already high taxes they have paid on importing goods. This is a clear case of double taxation and is simply unfair to the traders who are already struggling to make ends meet.

Another issue that compounds the problem is that even after paying such exorbitant amounts of tax, traders do not see the benefits of these taxes in terms of improved infrastructure and services. Roads are not properly maintained, the sewerage system is collapsing, and there is a lack of basic amenities such as street lights. This is a clear indication that the taxes paid by traders are not being utilized effectively, leading to a sense of frustration and disappointment among the business community.

It is high time that the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) re-evaluates its taxation policies and takes into consideration the plight of traders. It is not fair to burden businesses with such high taxes and then fail to provide them with the necessary services and infrastructure to support their operations. This oppressive tax system is not only driving traders out of business but is also discouraging potential investors from entering the country.

Furthermore, the current situation is also a wake-up call for the government to take action and address the concerns of its citizens. It is the responsibility of the government to create a conducive business environment for traders and ensure that their hard-earned money is not being unjustly taken away through excessive taxation. In conclusion, the double taxation of traders in Uganda is a serious issue that needs to be addressed urgently. It is causing immense hardship for businesses and hindering the growth of the economy. As a revolutionary leader, it is time for President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to take action and provide relief to the traders by revising the tax policies and ensuring that the taxes collected are put to good use for the benefit of all citizens. It is only through such actions that the economy of Uganda can thrive and its people can prosper.

The author, Kyeswa Hakim, is a Media Analyst, at The Office of the National Chairman NRM (ONC) – Kyambogo.

Tel: +256762969420