News / Economy

Economists: Uganda’s New Taxes Target Poor

FILE - A Ugandan man cleans his clothes at the Makerere Kivulu slums in Kampala.
FILE - A Ugandan man cleans his clothes at the Makerere Kivulu slums in Kampala.

Related Articles

Uganda's government has been struggling to find new sources of income since Western donors cut funding over the anti-homosexuality bill passed late last year. Economists say a raft of proposed new taxes unfairly target the poor, particularly farmers.  

Uganda’s proposed new budget, unveiled by the finance minister last week, aims to fill at least part of the shortfall left when some Western donors withdrew millions of dollars in aid earlier this year.  

But Ugandan economists pointed out Tuesday that many of the proposed new taxes would hurt the most vulnerable members of society.

Speaking at a conference of economists in Kampala, they described these taxes as “regressive.”  Items like salt and kerosene, which are subject to new taxes under the budget, are disproportionately used by the poor, they said.

A tax on agricultural inputs also came under attack. Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group coordinator Julius Mukunda says taxing such basic supplies as garden hoes unfairly targets subsistence farmers, a sizeable percentage of Uganda’s population.

He says this could have broader consequences.

“You tax a hoe - that is how desperate we can be," he said. "All these ones are going to make everyone who is deriving his livelihood from agriculture to suffer. If we have been fearing food insecurity, if we have been fearing drought, be rest assured [that] it is going to be at our door come next financial year if these proposals are put in place.”

The Ugandan government has argued that in order to increase public spending in the coming year, as it plans to do, it has to raise revenue through taxes. New taxes are also being proposed on fuel, sugar and mobile money transactions.

The Ugandan parliament still has to vote on the budget before it becomes law. The vote is expected in September.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: 1worldnow from: Earth
June 26, 2014 11:36 PM
Eusebio, what the heck did you say??? Good grief, man, Axial is in Uganda and the English in that comment is fine! Taxing the poor! Where are all the filthy-rich African-American entertainers screaming injustice for their brothers and sisters? Oh, my bad, they claim their African heritage, but could care less about Africa. Oh how naive of me! No government should ever ask anything from the poor, ever! The government should always be asking the poor "What can we do for you?" The government should be asking the wealthy "Why are you rich when we have so many poor?" Yeah, our poor here in the US do get taxed, but they do get it back at the end of the year, most of them also qualify for extra tax credit, which means they get more back than what they gave. If your government was offering that type of tax relief to your poor, then I would say it sucks, but at least they will get it back.

What is going on in Uganda? Taking money from the poor?

by: Axial College Uganda from: Ugand
June 23, 2014 5:42 AM
The tax is unfair. There are other things which could be taxed - corporations should be taxed instead of small scale farmers and communities - who also don't have access to alternative sources of machinery other than hoes. The tax will have a negative impact on Uganda's poverty reduction policies. Food insecurity is a real possibility. Increasing revenue is necessary, as there has been an over-reliance on foreign aid - however, the biggest concern should be with what the Govt. spends the new revenue on anyway.

by: eusebio manuel pecurto from: Portugal
June 19, 2014 12:39 PM
stop state of Uganda the peoples poor not of injustice the state of welfare the peoples poor should come state

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9152
JPY
USD
122.70
GBP
USD
0.6494
CAD
USD
1.2374
INR
USD
63.925

Rates may not be current.