Ecologists, Legislators Maintain Stance on Kerosene tax

1702 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Government proposed a Ugx 200 duty levy on each liter of Kerosene as part of the 2014/2015 budget estimates, a measure which, according to finance minister Maria Kiwanuka, would generate up to Ugx 15 Billion in revenue. Kiwanuka said the intention was to fight adulteration of fuel, in which dealers mix motor vehicle fuels with kerosene to increase volumes.

Environmentalists and a cross section of legislators are imploring parliament to maintain its stance on the rejection of the proposed tax on kerosene saying it is a burden to the poor.

The plea follows President Museveni's rejection of the excise duty Bill 2014, through which parliament had thrown out the proposed tax. But in a letter dated September 29th 2014, President Yoweri Museveni insisted that the Kerosene tax be passed on grounds that there is no evidence that the consumers benefited from the removal of the excise duty on kerosene.

Government proposed a Ugx 200 duty levy on each liter of Kerosene as part of the 2014/2015 budget estimates, a measure which, according to finance minister Maria Kiwanuka, would generate up to Ugx 15 Billion in revenue. Kiwanuka said the intention was to fight adulteration of fuel, in which dealers mix motor vehicle fuels with kerosene to increase volumes.

But Mawokota South MP Kenneth Bbosa Kiyingi appeals to the president to reconsider his position and instead have in place tougher penalties for dealers involved in adulteration.  Kiyingi further suggests that Government adopts other tax measures that do not impact directly on the basics of the poor.

//Cue in: "because people down……
Cue out:………in that regard"//
 
Soroti Woman MP Angelline Osegge also questioned the move saying persons who can hardly afford two meals a day, should not in any way be burdened by the tax regime.  She advised that government should consider taxing investors who are instead enjoying incentives at the expense of indigenous Ugandans.

"If the President Knows the people that he is ruling, if he loves the people that give him votes, that give him the mandate to sit on that chair for all these years, he should know that these people are so poor and do not deserve being frenzied another cent from their lives", Osegge stated.
 
//Cue in: "if they cannot afford…….
Cue out:……..mishandle Ugandans"//

Kasese Woman MP Winnie Kizza observes that members of Parliament conducted consultations and established that their constituents were uncomfortable with the tax. She adds that Parliament has a strong ground to reject the law and resend it to the president without approving the tax on Kerosene. 

Frank Muramuzi, the Executive Director of National Association of Professional Environmentalists noted that President Museveni's insistence on the tax is to impact negatively on the Environment saying that the rural poor will be forced to depend more on charcoal burning to earn money to buy kerosene.

He added when the tax is passed the people in rural areas are to depend even more on fuel wood for lighting as opposed to the costly paraffin.

"The tax is not good since the common man uses kerosene in source of lighting and in Kampala the low income earners use it in their stoves to cook, the President should not over charge the poor because They pay taxes in different aspects", Muramuzi noted.

However, Maruzi County MP Maxwell Akora said that although he was initially opposed to the tax, his stance changed after observing that fuel dealers still benefit even when the tax is scrapped. He further argues that government may not be able to meet its revenue targets if members of parliament decide to oppose proposed tax measures.
 
Akora noted that majority of the people in the country do not pay taxes apart from the people in salaried employment through PAYE and through consuming VAT chargeable products.

//Cue in: "the rich with vehicles…….
Cue out:……..tax on paraffin"//

Parliament's Committee on Finance has up to two weeks to scrutinize the returned ‘Excise Duty Bill' and make a decision.
 
 

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.