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Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Wednesday released a statement, criticising tax waiver and the proposed payment of tax on Over The Top services, for Members of Parliament.

In a joint communique released in Kampala, the CSOs said: “By waiving taxes amounting to Shs 500 billion, URA is bound to yet again fail at hitting its revenue target which was set at shs.16 trillion in FY 2018/19. This revenue lost is enough to pay 69,444 grade three primary school teachers a monthly salary of shs. 600,000 for a whole year”

Under the theme: “End the Greed! Stop Wastage of Taxpayers’ Money”, the CSOs said at a time when the country is struggling with raising revenue to meet the budget deficit, it defeats logic why the legislators would give away the much needed revenue without clear cost benefit analysis.

This comes a few days after parliament proposed a 39% increment in allowance for and 15 per cent increment for parliamentary staff in FY 2019/20 that will cost taxpayers an additional Shs 63.46 billion in the 2019/20 budget.

It is worth noting that members of Parliament passed OTT tax despite the public outcry against the enactment of the tax during which it was noted that the tax was regressive in nature, bound to limit access to information, stifle budding technology innovations and stagnate penetration of the internet.

Between July and December 2018, URA had only collected Shs 21.12 billion against a target of shs 135.21 billion.

“If parliament does not halt the proposal to have citizens pay OTT on behalf of Members of Parliament, we shall mobilise citizens across the different constituencies to hold their Members of Parliament accountable for the decisions they have taken to put in place inequitable and unfair fiscal policies and practices”, added the CSOs communiqué.

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