Parliament Passes Three Tax Bills
During the plenary sitting on the 30th April 2019 which was chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, members passed the three out of the five tax bills which were read. Those which were passed were: the Stamp Duty Amendment bill, 2019 which provides for a uniform stamp duty payable on bank guarantees, insurance performance bonds, indemnity bonds and reduce capital thresholds for developers; the Excise Duty Amendment Bill, 2019 which empowers the Minister to make regulations for prescribing the equivalent tax treatment of supplies made in the course of Islamic financial transactions and prescribes the interest rate payable on unpaid excise duty; and the Value Added Tax Amendment Bill, 2019 which provides the percentage of the withholding tax to be remitted and provides incentives to investors by exempting certain supplies from VAT. They were all passed with amendments.
Parliament stood over the other two bills —The Tax Procedures Code Amendment Bill, 2019 and the Income Tax Amendment Bill, 2019. The former intends to authorize Government to write-off all the unpaid taxes which resulted from counterpart funding. The Speaker asked the Minister of Finance, Hon. David Bahati to provide a clear list of the beneficiaries on whose behalf, the Govt will pay the taxes. The Income Tax bill was not passed following the minority report presented by Hon. Nandala Mafabi highlighting that the bill will allow the taxing of the carried forward losses made by companies. He argued that it does not qualify to be called an income tax bill and informed the House that if it was to be passed, it would be better if it was termed as the “ Loss Tax Bill.’’ His minority report was following the main Committee Report by Hon. Henry Musasizi, the Chairperson Finance Committee of Parliament. Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah notified the members that the bills which were not passed will be debated during the next sitting on Thursday, 2 May 2019.
During the same sitting, there was a brief debate on the Sugar Bill, 2019 which was returned by the President. The Chief Whip of Government, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa requested Parliament for a period of 1 month to bring back the bill after its revision. The House also adopted the report by the Health Committee on the Ministerial Policy Statement and Budget Estimates for the Health Sector in the FY 2019/2020. The proposed Sector allocations go up to 2.53 trillion Uganda Shillings.