A number of Members of Parliament have vowed to block any attempt by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to slap taxes on their car grant.
All legislators are expected to receive 150 million shillings next month as facilitation from Parliament to purchase cars. URA has reportedly written to Parliament, informing that the money will attract a tax.
However, Denis Hamson Obua, Ajuri County MP and former Parliamentary Commissioner, says taxing the car grant would be levying double tax on the legislators.
Last month, Twaha Sanywa, a concerned citizen, petitioned the Constitutional court seeking to block the payment of the car grant arguing that purchasing the cars amounts to preferential treatment of Parliament over other arms of government.
However, Kabula County MP James Kakooza insists that URA cannot tax the car grant because it is part of facilitation to help MPs carry out their work in the constituencies. Kakooza says if government insists on taxing the money, they should revert the scheme to instead purchase vehicles for MPs, just like it is done for ministers, permanent secretaries, local government leaders and commissioners, among others.
Article 158 (1) of the Constitution states that where any salary or allowance of the holder of any office is charged on the consolidated fund, it shall not be altered to his or her disadvantage after he/she has been appointed to that office.
John Baptist Nambeshe, Manjiya County MP says taxing the 150 million shillings will reduce the money drastically by over 50 million shillings, which is unable to purchase a good car for an MP to use for constituency work, especially those in hard to reach areas.
We, however, learnt that the car grant could increase to 200 million shillings. According to sources in Parliament, the money will be paid in installments; 150 million shillings next month and another 50 million shillings in March 2017.
Officials from Parliament’s Communications department were unavailable for comment to verify these reports as they are out of the country.
A total of 64 billion shillings was allocated in the 2016/2017 financial year to purchase the vehicles for the 427 MPs.