Opinion: Magufuli should look at Acacia before he throws shade at Museveni!
“President John Pombe Magufuli has advised President Museveni to sacrifice part of the 185m USD tax bill charged by the URA to conclude plans for the construction of the crude oil pipeline and begin the project forthwith in order to create jobs” (NTV Uganda, 07.09.2019).
Today, is yet another day of hypocrisy. It is not new, but just another story like that. As the Tanzanian President Magufuli is right that Uganda Revenue Authority and their winning of a Court Case, which entails a tax-dispute between Tullow Oil has suspended the development of the pipeline and the drilling in parts of the Lake Albert Basin. As the farm-down agreement between three parties, Tullow, Total and CNOOC is on-hold.
That is where the Tanzanian President is right. Period. However, he is wrong in a whole other sense. Should President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni tell his counter-part, that he should mind his own business? Yes, actually. Because, in this manner. The Tanzanian one is doing the same battle with anther extraction industry. The mining industry, the Acacia Mining tax scandal. Where the the company has to back-pay the government.
This the Tanzanian counterparts slapped on the company by in 2017. The same sort of settlement the Ugandan did with Tullow in 2015, as the Republic wanted back-taxes for the investments done in the territory. That is why Magufuli shouldn’t whine about this.
Surely, we know Magufuli wanted the man-power, the taxing rate of the movement of goods through his United Republic and secure the usage of Tanga Port. Museveni knows this, but he wants the tax for the operations done by both Heritage and Tullow. That is trying to ditch the back-pay on other companies whose buying their stake in the Lake Albert Basin.
Therefore, with the knowledge of the Acacia scandal, that is still going on to this day. Magufuli wanted back-pay for lack of taxes from the mining industry. Which is righteous, just like Museveni does at his place. The Tullow has now used years from 2015 to 2019. Acacia has now used 2017 to 2019. In 2018, the ownership of Acacia said it looked forward to negotiations with the government. This year in February, the company still have no resolution to the back-pay of taxes. That means the government of Magufuli have not fixed the same issue.
Just like the Ugandans haven’t fixed the farm-down and back-pay of operational taxes. Because, the company trying to configure itself out of taxes. Surely, Tanzania see the same acts by their mining industry. But in this regard, Magufuli wants to earn a dime on the oil exploitation in the Lake Albert Basin.
So, before the Tanzanian get it fixed with Acacia or Barrick in their own dominion. They should give time for Ugandans to fix their own tax dispute. They have even won it in an International Court. Therefore, the Ugandan case is stronger, than the one of Acacia. Whose only internally disputed.
That is why, this isn’t the faults of Uganda Revenue Authority, but of Tullow, whose trying to deflect the payment of taxes in the Republic. Something, Magufuli wouldn’t allow anyone operating in his territory. If so, why this hustle against Acacia and still not stopping it?
Because, Magufuli want the taxes and the proper payment for doing business in the United Republic. Just like Museveni want the proper payment for doing business in the Republic.
So, please Joseph, get your own domain straight, before throwing other people under the bus. Maybe, once in the while accept criticism. That might given your argument a more flair and less selfish reasons for addressing a neighbour and an ally. Peace.