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Matia Kasaija farmers paying taxes
For Uganda to increase its GDP ratio, farmers in Uganda to start paying taxes. File Photo

It high time farmers start paying taxes says Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija

At an economic summit held at Serena Hotel in Kampala, Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija said that for Uganda to increase its GDP ratio, farmers in Uganda should start paying taxes.

In his remarks, Kasaija said that currently, Uganda’s export is higher than its imports from neighbouring countries, clashing with the current statistics which indicate that Uganda’s current account deficit stands at 3bn USD equivalent to 11TM Uganda shillings.

Kasaija in his view says that every Ugandan has to pay taxes if the country’s GDP is to increase.

“For as long as you stay in Uganda, you need to pay tax, if you don’t, you are cheating yourself. How do I increase our tax GDP ratio? Me I have scratched my head with the people I work with, in vain. There is money, but where we don’t know where it is going,” Kasaija said.

Kasaija informed the guests who attended the summit that the rate at which government executes different government projects is still wanting, which Ugandan needs to be informed of.

He said that government has failed to expand its tax base, citing tax evasion among taxpayers or failure to pay taxes the way it’s supposed to be.

Kasaija further noted that despite the middle-income status that has so far been achieved in some parts of Uganda, some regions have remained backwards, living in extreme poverty.

“There are some areas where poverty is still biting hard, despite that some parts have already achieved middle-income status,” Kasaija noted.

However, Prof Samuel Sejjaakka, one of the attendees, a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, former Uganda Development Bank Chairperson and a Certified Public Accountant of Uganda accused the government of overtaxing Ugandans to death.

Sejjaakka says government have failed to effectively utilise the money generated from taxes, the money is only used to buy cars for themselves without any proper accountability.

“Government is taxing this economy to death. What even hurts more is that when revenue is mobilised, it is then used to buy cars. This makes it hard to sustain effective taxation,” Sejjaakka said.

“When I hear my colleagues in government talking about business and things like discipline, accountability and others, I always wonder why they are in Government and not doing business with us. If you are not doing anything for the government, you hardly have anything to say, we are all beholden to the government,” Prof Sejjaakka added.