President Yoweri Museveni has warned Urban Authorities in Uganda against multiple taxation of transport operators and other business people operating or those transiting through the different districts and urban centres in Uganda.
He reminded them that Uganda is a single economic area where a businessperson should not be made to pay the same tax to different tax authorities or even pay it more than once.
The President sounded the warning in his address to the Annual General Assembly of the Urban Authority Association of Uganda that took place yesterday at Hotel Brovad in Masaka Municipality.
The Association brings together Mayors and town Clerks from all over Uganda.
Referring to complaints by transport operators in the City of Kampala and many other Municipalities and Town Councils about double taxation by the different urban authorities in the country, the President said that any Authority or person that supports multiple taxation of business people is an enemy of Uganda.
“Double taxation is treason. It is criminal, dangerous and bad for the country’s economy and whoever supports it is an enemy of Uganda. It means that Uganda does not exist and this has to stop. Even over taxation itself is bad and dangerous for the economy,” the President added.
President Museveni appealed to Urban Authorities to be agents of change and development in their areas of jurisdiction especially by promoting investment and industrialisation that, he said, would solve the country’s unemployment challenge and help to make the country’s balance of trade favourable through import substitution.
“We are a rich country because we import goods worth US$7 billion annually many of which we can produce locally. We continue to export raw materials in this modern era loosing income and jobs. We must work together to halt this. Let every leader here ensure that each product from his area goes to the market with value added,” the President added.
He said that the increase and expansion in a number of urban centres in Uganda is a sign that the country is modernising and developing.
He, however, said that modern life and jobs are in industries and failure to attract them would hinder the progress of the urban areas.
He stressed that the industrialization process that is related to urbanization would generate employment for the youth, increase the urban area’s purchasing power and greatly reduce poverty.
He, therefore, asked all Urban Authority leaders to have economic plans for their areas.
Regarding the request for enhanced payment to the Urban Authority leaders, President Museveni informed the meeting that the government has instituted a Salaries Commission to review all salaries of Public Servants. He assured them that once the Salaries Commission has completed the review of all government staff salaries, there will be enhancement in payment.
He also said that government will budget to ensure provision of road equipment for Municipalities noting that the NRM Government is committed to ensuring a good road network all over the country because poor roads increase the cost of doing business.
The Chairperson of the Urban Authorities’ Association of Uganda, who is also Mayor of Jinja Municipality, Mr. Sadiq Batambuze, commended the President and the NRM Government for the funding that was extended to the 14 Municipalities in Uganda.
He noted that the funding has done a lot in face-lifting those Municipalities. He also commended the Government for passing the National Urban Policy and the National Housing Policy adding that the decision will go a long way in helping urban planning in the country.
He called for increased funding of non-conditional grants from the Central Government to Municipalities and Town Councils and support to urban areas with common user facilities to enable those Urban Centres tackle the unemployment challenge, among the youth.
Local Government Minister, Mr. Tom Butime and that of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Sempijja, among others, attended the meeting.