Cecilia Ogwal, Opposition MPs force Government to withdraw Tax Exemption for COVID Donors 

By Ritah Nakamya

Dokolo Member of Parliament, Cecilia Atim Ogwal on Wednesday led her Opposition colleagues in rejecting the plans to grant tax exemptions to companies that donated food and other items during the early days of Coronavirus.

On 17th June, 2020 Government introduced Income Tax (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2020 seeking to amend the Income Tax Act, Cap.340 to provide for deduction of charitable donations made by persons to the Government of Uganda to fight COVID-19 pandemic. It was read for the first time and referred to the Committee on Finance, Planning and Economic Development in accordance with Rule 128 of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament.

The Bill was returned to Parliament on Wednesday to be debated and possibly passed if approved by MPs.

“I completely disagreed with the plans because donations were made voluntarily. People have been generously donating for years since we have gone through various disasters, including Kasese floods, Bududa landslides and many others, not only COVID-19,” said Hon. Cecilia.

She added that giving donation is giving back to the community and asking for a tax favour is not Ugandan or African culture.

“I strongly think that if someone or company donates, he or she is giving back to the community from their heart and honestly expecting a tax concession from it is unafrican. It’s just not our culture,” she said.

Adding: “We give donations to the unprivileged all the time and if we now decide to gift it with tax exemptions, it will create loopholes for tax evasion and subsequent effects on the economy.”

The Minister of State for Finance, David Bahati later withdrew the bill.

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