URA says new cancer machine tax-free, not seized

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Uganda Revenue Authority [URA] has dismissed reports claiming that it confiscated the newly acquired Radiotherapy Machine over unpaid taxes.

According to Dickson Kateshumbwa, Commissioner Customs, the machine was exempted from any taxes.

The tax body said the machine has been released and the relevant ministry is expected to pick it from URA’s warehouse.

Uganda Cancer Institute director, Dr. Jackson Oryem, also dismissed the claims. He had earlier announced that the institute would receive the machine today, Wednesday 16th August at 9:00am in the presence of the minister of Health, Ruth Aceng.

Uganda’s only radiotherapy machine broke down in March last year, leaving nearly 2,000 patients without any proper treatment.

Over 400 cancer patients were taken to the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya for better management of the illness.

Uganda acquired the new radiotherapy machine from the Czech Republic at 800,000 dollars. The machine has been in a warehouse awaiting installation.

The cobalt 60 machine arrived through Mombasa last week with the help of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The renovation of the radiotherapy banker to house the machine has been completed at a cost of over 300,000 dollars.

The old machine that is broken beyond repair will be shipped back to China from where Uganda got it as a donation in 1995.

A radiotherapy machine kills cancerous cells in specific parts of the body using radiation, and applies to many types of cancer.

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