A Ugandan activist has left some people in shock after she proposed a tax on cows! Her proposal came as the government, through the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, presented proposed tax amendment bills detailing new taxes that the Museveni regime hopes to introduce starting July this year when the 2023-2024 financial year begins.
The bills are: Income Tax Amendment, 2023; the Excise Duty Amendment Bill, 2023; Value Added Tax Amendment Bill, 2023; the Tax Procedures Code Amendment Bill, 2023; the Traffic and Road Safety Act Amendment Bill, 2023; nd Lotteries and Gaming Amendment Bill, 2023.
Among other proposals, a driver will upon conviction for over speeding be fined Shs2m or be sentenced to three years in prison or be handed both punishments; while those engaged in sports betting will have to part with up to 30 per cent of every Shs100 they make on any bet win.
Perhaps concerned by government desperate attempt to squeeze a small portion of citizens for revenue, Sarah Bireete, the Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG), has advised the Museveni administration to target the majority of Ugandans, about 70 per cent, who are are engaged in agriculture.
Amongst Dr Bireete’s proposals is the introduction of cow tax which she suggests should be charged at the point of sale or according to the number of cows one owns.
“68% of Ugandans are employed in the agricultural sector. Why can’t efforts to expand Uganda’s tax base focus on issues like introduction of cow tax? Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development should come up with a threshold like taxing persons with over 30 head of cattle,” the human rights activist and lawyer proposed.
“During census, cows, goats, sheep per household are documented. That’s a good source of information for tax levy and collection. We can also take decisions to tax cows at a point of sale. Cows cost a minimum of Shs2m. The recent BOU report indicated that only 1% of Ugandans earn Shs1m and above. Once in a while, I buy a cow or slaughter one, have never been taxed! There is a tax levied on purchase of land. We can do the same with cows at a point of sale.”
On whether the tax should not only be limited to meat, milk and other byproducts from cows – instead of the cow at point of sale – Bireete said: “That’s a different product all together: we tax salary earners at a point of pay but they also pay a whole range of indirect taxes with the same incomes through purchase of products they consume.”
On whether cow tax will not work against promotion of agriculture which employs most Ugandans, Bireete wondered: “We tax employees and business – is our aim prohibitive or revenue generation for service delivery?”
What about the ease of collecting this tax? Bireete says: “We can target points of sale. Cows need authorization to move from one area to another.”
The cow tax would come as a huge burden to cattle-keeping regions such as Nkore (Ankole) and Teso as well as traders dealing in livestock.
Months ago, Ugandans were left in shock after Museveni appointed a special advisor on Ankole cows who earns millions every month. (See Details Here).
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