40 city traders charged over non-payment of licence fees
Posted Friday, March 8 2013 at 02:00
Kampala Capital City Authority officials say those found guilty will lose their businesses and pay a fine of up to Shs20 million.
At least 40 city traders had by yesterday been prosecuted for defaulting on payment of trading licenses.
Kampala Capital City Authority deputy spokesperson Robert Kalumba told the Daily Monitor last evening that more tax defaulters will be arraigned in KCCA court next week.
“We summoned those traders last week and many thought we were joking, but they are now facing the reality,” he said by telephone.
The traders so far charged are part of more than 1,000 trading licence defaulters KCCA summoned last week. Of the 40 traders, 10 of them operate at Centenary Park, who KCCA deliberately denied trading licences on grounds that they operated in an area not gazetted for businesses.
Mr Kalumba said the affected traders will lose their businesses and in addition pay penalties of up to Shs20 million.
He said the law requires proprietors of businesses to pay licence fees at the beginning of each year, but thousands of them were still reluctant to pay.
Among businesses that have defaulted, according to Mr Kalumba, include; shopping centres, bars, disco halls, recreational centres and restaurants.
He said KCCA had projected a collection of at least Shs14 billion from trade licences in the 2012/2013 financial year, but they are worried that they may not hit the target.
“We are also compiling lists of hotel and property tax defaulters and very soon we shall go after them,” Kalumba added.
City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago said on Tuesday that he was uncomfortable with way the executive director, Ms Jennifer Musisi, was handling the issue of trading licences.
Mr Lukwago added that Parliament had earlier recommended that the tax be suspended until the rates were revised downwards.
The issue of trading licence has remained sticky and in some areas of the city, the authority has had trouble collecting fees from traders with some claiming that they are not supposed to pay.
On many occasions, KCCA law enforcers have been chased by angry traders accusing them of levying a suspended tax.