Uganda’s main opposition political party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), has urged the government to reduce the percentage of tax it deducts from workers’ incomes from 30 per cent to 5 percent.
FDC spokesperson, Mr John Kikonyogo, said the 30 per cent is high given that Ugandan workers are, largely, “poorly paid”.
“It is insensitive on the part of the government to take 30 per cent from each worker. It is very high,” he said during a press conference at the FDC head office in Najjanankumbi, Kampala.
In Kenya, the percentage ranges from 22 per cent – for those earning up to KSh110, 000 (USh3.300 million) gross – to 30 per cent for those who earn more than KSh110, 000.
Speaking separately, Mr Stephen Mukitale, a member of Uganda’s House Committee on the National Economy, said paying taxes is a noble duty.
“If you do not pay taxes, the government would not ably implement UPE, roads and vaccines. As an alternative government, they (opposition) should propose where the government will get the money for service delivery from,” Mr Mukitale told the Monitor during a phone interview on Monday, August 18.
FDC’s suggestion comes two months after the Minister of Finance Ms Maria Kiwanuka read the 2014/2015 national budget.
The suggestion also comes just when various committees of Parliament are scrutinising the budgets of the various government departments.
Parliament usually appropriates the money for the different departments by the end of September.
“It is a duty of all citizens to pay taxes. FDC knows without taxes, there is nothing you can do. But it is absurd to know 30 per cent of Pay As You Earn is inhuman and insensitive to take that percentage from the meager salaries of Ugandans. The government should either scrap or reduce the tax to at least 5 per cent.” Mr John Kikonyogo
Meanwhile, FDC has said it could expel those MPs who might have accepted Shs110 million from the government to pay their debts.
“We will forward the cases to the disciplinary committee. Corruption is one of the issues that could lead to complete expulsion from the party. We cannot tolerant corruption. If we were to tolerate it, there would be no way we would convince Ugandans that an FDC government would fight corruption,” said Mr Kikonyogo.
He said the party is waiting for a report from the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mr Wafula Oguttu, about the matter.
A fortnight ago, Mr Oguttu said during a press conference he called at Parliament that he had been informed by some MPs that the government had offered some National Resistance Movement (NRM) and at least 18 opposition, money to pay off their debts. End.