Parliament passes Income Tax Bill Without Amendments
Members of Parliament have defied concerns from President Yoweri Museveni and passed the controversial Income Tax Amendment Bill 2016.
The Income Tax Amendment Bill 2016 was passed in May 2016 by Parliament, after amendments to Clause 21 of the bill exempting MPs from paying taxes on some on their allowances. Some of the allowances are on town running, mileage, constituency facilitation and purchase of motor vehicle facilitation, among others.
Civil society organisations condemned the move, calling MPs selfish and rallied Ugandans to urge the President not to assent to the bill.
However President Museveni declined to assent to it, stating in a letter to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, that it was injurious to the national economy and government efforts to collect revenue and is not morally right. As one of the bills that were saved by the 10th Parliament, the committee on Finance held fresh consultations on the bill and agreed in its report presented to the House on November 15, 2016, that the bill remains unchanged.
“The committee observed that there is a misconception in the public that members do not pay taxes yet they pay taxes on their salaries,” Musasizi stated. Musasizi told the House that MPs each pay Ugx 3.3 million in terms of taxes from their salaries, amounting to Ugx 40.4 million shillings per year. Committee sitting allowances and responsibility sitting allowances for committee chairpersons and vice chairpersons also attract a 40 percent tax.
Musasizi implored the MPs, in the report recommendations, to pass the bill without amendments and returned to the President for assent. This drew claps from the MPs and when Speaker Kadaga put the question to adopt the report and pass the bill, MPs overwhelmingly voted in favour.
The bill will now be sent again to the President for assent. If he returns the bill to Parliament seeking further amendments, Parliament is empowered by the Constitution and its rules of Procedure to pass the bill without endorsement from the President.