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UGANDA: Some more things govt should consider taxing

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Here are more things government should tax

Written by DR JIMMY SPIRE SSENTONGO, THE OBSERVER

Dear Government (whatever that means),

I gladly welcome suggestions to introduce new taxes without cutting on any of the old.

Kindly, help us and let every Ugandan realise you are committed to making sure no one carries a smile and that, like white ants, their silence won’t save them from being eaten. Squeeze harder until our national anthem becomes ‘wuuwi, wuuwiii’.

Ugandans deserve it; and what can they do, anyway? You removed term limits as they breathed cold fire, like castrated dogs. Didn’t they go back to their houses, like Lira chicken climbing down a tree after a heavy downpour?

When they alleged the 2016 elections were rigged and shouted themselves soar about starting to vote as late as 2pm in Kampala, what did they do? Didn’t they eventually calm down, like a sorcerer after a spell of possession? Aren’t they waiting to vote again in 2021; sorry, 2023?

When our dear president told them frankly that he is not their servant, all they could do was kick their social media walls in rage. When they tried to publically detest the utterance, they trembled like a thin dog easing itself in the wind.

What seemed like was going to be the toughest was the removal of the age limit cap on presidency. I had never seen them fume like that before. They threatened it would only happen over their dead bodies. Perhaps their bodies are dead now, for it already passed! They likened it to rape, but all they did after was to try to repair the bed.

When did the noise of a frog stop a cow from drinking water? They were only raging about removal of the age limit, and you challenged them by extending MPs’ terms, too. That is what the Baganda call throwing someone down and you bite them as well – double jeopardy. All we saw afterwards was them coiling like orphaned puppies.

With all the direct and indirect taxes they pay, when they go to Mulago hospital and get little or no help, what do they do? Don’t the poor ones go back to their homes to die peacefully without the inconvenience of medicine?

Of course, they know you are not responsible for their deaths; that is why in their eulogies they say it was God’s will. Those are the people you are dealing with. There is nothing to be scared of. So, anything that can increase our tax base to bring more money to your disposal is okay.

I, therefore, suggest that we also consider taxing the following. It is said there are two things we cannot escape: death and taxes. However, you could have observed there are many people dying unnecessarily in our country.

We could curb this by introducing a death tax. Families of the deceased should pay a certain amount before we allow them to proceed with burial – call it a ‘death fee’.

I also think the 32 years in which you have allowed them to breathe free oxygen is enough. We should calculate the average amount of air one breathes in every month and ask them to pay some monthly levy – name it ‘pay as you breathe’.

Even the rainwater you have permitted people to harvest at no cost, it is high time they paid per 20 litres. All rainwater tanks should be registered with URA, and be inspected every after a downpour to record the taxable amount of harvest.

It is also obvious many of our people are failing to get to our lower middle-income status target because they spend a lot of time talking/chatting.

Social media taxes could help on this, but I think they should be revised a little to be more effective. Social media users should be taxed in accordance with the number of words they post, selfies, tweets, re-tweets, and the number of comments they attract.

Using wireless internet to access social media should be handled like any other form of tax evasion. There is a lot you need the money for, which every citizen should be able to understand.

You know the number of ministers we have (perhaps among the biggest in Africa), the number of MPs, presidential advisors, local government officials, DISOs, GISOs, RDCs, etc. People should also understand facilitating MPs to ‘consult’ and celebrate victory afterwards took a lot of money that must be replaced.

Soon we may also need to facilitate them for the referendum on presidential term extension (one of the most urgent needs of the country). The ‘handshake’ budget also needs to be boosted. Clearly, the needs are many. Oh, you could as well add secondary needs like roads, hospitals, and schools.

As an environmentalist, I am also happy that cars older than eight years will no longer be allowed into the country. Critics who doubted your commitment to environmental protection are silenced now.

Those old cars are responsible for destroying our wetlands and emitting volumes of carbon that end up in the heads of our leaders. Those who can’t afford newer cars shouldn’t mind, soon Kiira Motors will be producing affordable ones.

Currently, a litre of petrol goes for around Shs 3,980. But we still experience traffic jam. Add a little tax to take it up to Shs 4,500 to test their response. If they remain calm and quiet, then that would be worrying. Are they alive?

I propose at such a stage we use a jet to randomly pour cold water on them. Perhaps, then, they will respond. I am reminded of a certain primary school teacher of mine who would not stop caning you until you cried out in clear expression of intense pain. Flog us, Government, flog harder.

jsssentongo@gmail.com

The author heads the Centre for African Studies at Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi.

—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: April 21, 2018 at 06:54AM

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