MPs Insist On Tax Exemptions for their Allowances
Members of Parliament want the Finance Committee to send back the Income Tax Amendment Bill 2016 to the President.
The bill, which was passed by Parliament during the 9th Parliament, seeks to exempt MPs from paying taxes on allowances including fuel allowances, which is part of their consolidated pay about 20 million shillings every month.
However, President Museveni declined to assent to the bill and sent it back to Parliament, explaining that the exemptions under Section 19 of the law would affect revenue collection and was not “morally correct”.
While appearing before Parliament’s Finance Committee on October 27th 2016, two Parliamentary Commissioners, Arinaitwe Rwakajara, also Workers’ MP and Usuk County MP, Peter Ogwang stood their ground on the exemptions.
The commissioners noted that contrary to popular belief that the MPs do not pay any taxes, legislators’ salaries are taxed.
Ogwang stated that MPs pay close to 4 million shillings monthly in taxes. He cited mileage allowances, which he said cannot be taxed because it is a direct facilitation for MPs’ work in the constituencies. Arinaitwe, on his part, tasked whoever doubted the MPs’ tax records to go to Uganda Revenue Authority for evidence.
State Minister of Finance, David Bahati also appeared before the committee but failed to give government’s position on the bill when tasked by legislators. He asked for more time to consult.
The passing of the bill sparked widespread outcry from the civil society and public who rallied for signatures across the country compelling the President not to sign the bill into law.
According to Rule 132 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, once a bill is passed and the President declines to assent to it, it is returned to the committee, which will consider it and make recommendations to the House.
The House will debate the motion and pass the bill with amendments or not and sent to the President.
If the President returns the bill again, Parliament can pass the bill.