KAMPALA, UGANDA: Current and former members of Parliament have been listed among the more than 800 individuals and companies that have defaulted government taxes to a tune of 346 billion Shillings.
This is contained in the Ministry of Finance’s response to the issues raised by the Opposition in Parliament on the charter of fiscal responsibility for the financial year 2021/2022-2025/26.
According to the list, individuals and private companies owe a sum of 137 billion Shillings while government entities owe 209 billion Shillings to the government.
The list shows that six current MPs have tax arrears. They are State Minister for Microfinance Haruna Kasolo, with a bill of 94 million Shillings, Cissy Namujju, the Lwengo Woman MP with 51 million Shillings, Aringa South MP Allioni Yoke Odria, with 57 million Shillings, Nakaseke District Woman MP Sarah Najjuma, with seven million Shillings, East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) MP James Kakooza, with 950,000 Shillings, and Bukoto South MP Twaha Kagabo Mzee with tax arrears of 1.1 million Shillings.
The former MPs include Odonga Otto (111 million Shillings), Julie Mukoda Zabwe (15 million Shillings), Sam Engola (32 million Shillings), Fred Angella (20 million Shillings), Hatwib Katoto (65 million Shillings), Paul Amoru (2.8 million Shillings), Kenneth Lubogo (7 million Shillings), and Crispus Ayena (8 million Shillings).
The same list also has retired Justice Steven Kavuma (4.4 million Shillings), and retired Justice Ralph Ochan (14 million Shillings), and musician Joseph Mayanja who has an outstanding debt of 28 million Shillings.
The government entities that owe over 209 billion Shillings include the Ministry of Finance itself with unpaid commitments of 150 billion Shillings, the Office of the Prime Minister with 30 billion Shillings, 13 billion Shillings owed by the Ministry of Energy, State House 3.4 billion Shillings, Ministry of Water with 2 billion Shillings and Ministry of Health with 3.4 billion shillings among others.
The other entities include Pioneer Easy Bus with tax arrears of 5.7 billion Shillings, Uganda Telecom with 72 million Shillings, Bata Shoe company with 245 million Shillings, Tomao Uganda Limited with 2.4 billion Shillings, China Railway 7th Group with 150 million Shillings, Roofclad Limited 2.9 billion Shillings, KMPG c/o Crown Beverages with 1 billion Shillings, Airtel Uganda with 764 million Shillings, Florence Baby Centre Limited with 1.3 billion Shillings, MTB Co. Limited with 10 billion Shillings and Century Bottling Company with 3.9 billion Shillings among others.
State Minister for Finance Amos Lugolobi presented the list after the Budget committee tasked the ministry to present a detailed statement on the state of domestic arrears, absorption of loans and tax arrears.
Butambala County MP Muwanga Kivumbi says that it is sad to see leaders at the top of those who are not paying taxes.
Buikwe South MP Bayigga Lulume says the government should not focus on effectively collecting tax from the low-level income earners but from key government officials and politicians.
The MPs have also registered concern over the absence of a clear commitment by the government to clear domestic arrears which are suffocating the economy. While reviewing the government’s charter of fiscal responsibility, MPs were shocked to learn that the government’s domestic arrears have recently increased to 4.1 trillion Shillings.
Lugoloobi told the committee that they are moving to sanction accounting officers who continue to accumulate domestic arrears and many will face contract terminations if they continue with the practice.