Wednesday June 25 2014

Youth MPs vow to fight new taxes on agriculture, schools


Some youth MPs yesterday said they will rally Parliament to oppose proposed taxes on agricultural inputs, computers, mobile money transactions and educational materials, saying the new levies will worsen the already high youth unemployment and push young people deeper into poverty.

In the 2014/15 Budget, the government introduced taxes on seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, printing services for educational materials and mobile money transactions.

However, Western Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga and his counterpart from Northern Uganda, Ms Monica Amoding, told a press conference at Parliament that the government is transferring the tax burden to sectors where the youth have been exploiting to eke out a living. They said they are drafting a petition to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga over the taxes before Parliament can make a final pronouncement on the budget.

“If you are encouraging poor youth to be compliant and move with global standards in agriculture, and they are making baby steps, and then you slap them in the face, do you expect them to rise up again? This budget is a disservice to youth. We cannot promote agriculture based on rhetoric,” Mr Karuhanga said.

Ms Amoding said: “Commercialisation of agriculture should be about affordability and access to equipment. Government is being overly ambitious in its taxation.”