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Archive for the tag “Taxation Without Representation”

When did it become okay? That the Politicians of our time are richer than businessmen!

There is no art which one government sooner learns of another than that of draining money from the pockets of the people.” Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

Something is wrong in our day and age. When the Members of Parliament, the politicians and the appointed leadership are richer, than ever before. When the politicians and the ones representing us are richer than the ones building factories and owning businesses. That is just wrong, that is not right. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

The Members of Parliament, the politicians, the councilors and the local government officials wasn’t supposed to be the kingpins and have the biggest mansions. They are supposed to represent us and make sure that society are working for all of us. Maybe with different ideology and party affiliation, but their existence and their livelihood depend on the idea, that they are representing us. The politicians are supposed to be there for us and be there as guards. And if we don’t like they way they are guarding our society, we change them with someone else in the next election. That is how it is supposed to be, right?

However, that is not the case in our day. To many places they are honorable, they are noble, they have more businesses than businessmen, they have more investment too. They are using their connections for government tenders and also trading with State Owned Enterprises (SOE). All of this so they can sponge off the state and secure even more profits on the dime of the citizens. Instead of delivering and representing, they are become traders of faith and billing society too.

That wasn’t the intention. It wasn’t supposed to be rigged elections and fixed results. That makes sense for the leadership not representing the people or delivering. Since they don’t have to, it is just a charade securing the leadership “legitimacy” with an election, but the people didn’t elect them. That was ghosts, bots and algorithms. They have no interests in caring or delivering. Neither has the ones who used a coup to gain power. They fought there for their own will, not depending on the goodwill and trust of the public.

There are so many leaders and MPs, so many parliamentarians who seems more preoccupied with their SUVs, Mansions, Salaries and expense accounts. That they are not considering the troubles of the working people, about the pensioners and the ones unemployed. They are just happy go lucky, that the fortune hit them. The poverty, the lacking services and the misuse of power doesn’t mind them. These people could make it on their own, that is why they are unfortunate. Not that it’s the MPs, the Presidents or the representatives who didn’t see who they represent.

When we forget that they are representing us, they are representing the ideas of our society and the will of change that is needed. There is always need for change and need for productivity. There is always need for service delivery and making sure the government are accountable. However, when the representative is more keen on their own pockets and getting connections to enrich themselves. Then they loose their meaning and their purpose. They are then marionettes for the elites and the corporations. The politicians becomes stooges and relics instead of the representing the people of their constituency.

This has to change, we have to change this, we cannot accept that the MPs, the politicians are taking us for granted and using us for their own gain. They are there to serve, unless they don’t change. We have to serve them, we have to demonstrate and boycott their well-wishers. We cannot just look at these leaders of ours and be happy with it.

If they wont represent us, then we have to get fresh blood. Get people who actually care and give a damn. Because the ones in our time are greedy, selfish loot of people, who needs to recognized and be dealt with, before we are dealt with and we will be left behind. Peace.

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Opinion: What will we leave behind to the next generation?

I wonder if our leaders of our time is considering their legacy and the aftermath of their decisions. Its like the constant breaking news, the steady flow of information and the reactions are more damage control, than actually policies for a sustainable future. Where the actions of today either creates more hostile environment or more fragile institutions for the next generation to gaze upon. Its like we should wonder, what we have to do. To be sure the kids of today, will have states and institutions that are considered good.

We can wonder if the states are built more for corporations and multi-national financial institutions and their needs over what the citizens need. We can wonder if the linear move of financial services is built for the multi-national corporation and their sophisticated tax evasions, which is legal, but still questionable by all parts of society. Because of citizens does so, they will be punished by late-taxes, while a corporation can create a shell-company and move the money like a saint.

We can really wonder what will be left behind, as the states are fragile, the military powers are extended and more countries are affected of violence and senseless killings. By both militants and by state sponsored armies. All of this are creating havoc and making the states weaker, while the injustice roam. Citizens are fleeing injustice and insecurity, trying to find shelter and a new home. While the riches nations are putting up higher walls, making it more dangerous to pass and making agreements on the borders. To stop them and even send them home into violence and possible death by association. This is all happening, day to day.

In many countries it is dangerous to be opposition. If you oppose the ruling regime, you will be arbitrary arrested, your family will be monitored and you might be assassinated. Your business will be taken over or destroyed. The elections are rigged and the appointments made by the elected officials are obnoxious. They are made for facilitating the parties and their cronies. Not to build institutions or departments to deliver services to the citizens, but instead its used for cronies of the leadership of the day.

So it seems like tomorrow is forgotten, because the latest burning fire is more important that thinking about the future. If we could avoid it or even try to find solutions to avoid fires. Stop the dry forests, find out why the temperatures are arising and all the other issues for the running fires. It has to be stopped. The reasons for the businesses has the ability to take out profits where they initially earn it and put it into accounts in Tax Havens. That takes away needed funds and state reserves to secure delivery of needed functions of the state. Which all costs from planning to delivering, from salaries to procurement. Everything has to be covered by the taxes and the revenue made within the state, therefore, when the corporations are allowed to move profits without taxes. They are initially using the state and citizens, while also shelving the needed costs of actually doing business in the state. Even if it is profitable today, it might be more costly tomorrow. As the bankrupt states, the initial degree of defaulting on loans and the interests pay by the state. Take away even more services and possible development of the needed ministries and departments by the state. It is an evil circle, which in the end, make it impossible for the businesses to do business, since the public cannot afford and the state cannot afford either. Since they are all paying down loans, instead of growing the economy with need for the products these businesses make.

If the leadership of today had cared and had thought it through. They would have had more mechanisms, would have had more secured definitions and actually built institutions with protocols to fix possibly tomorrows problems. Instead, we are trying to configure and find solutions again and again. We are trying again to fix similar problems, with lacking funds and times. We are having meager responses and lack luster performances. Where we are building up personality cults and armed generals as leaders, while forgetting why we have governments. The governments that are there as representatives and providers for our day to day lives.

Still, that vision is far fetched and also seems like pipe-dream. Where the states are more and more complying to multi-national corporations and their interests over the needs of the citizens. If not they are complying to the leadership or one single leader who control the state itself. The democratic values are dying, the benefit of representation is dwindling and the face-value of the government. The government is losing value, while the ones leading them is enriching themselves instead of serving the citizens. They are doing this, this way since they are obliging the corporations and cronies instead of serving them.

Is this the legacy we want to leave to the next generation? Is this the state of affairs, we want to be remembered for? That we let them take us and use us for our time and when we lived. That we didn’t build a better tomorrow for us the citizens, but to make sure the leaders and the corporations earned on our hard work and dedication. Its clearly somebody is compensated, while the rest is bleeding.

While we’re wounded and taken for granted. Should we react, should we question and should find ways to demonstrate our discontent with the current affair. As our state mind cannot accept being taken for granted and being used in the favors of people we don’t know and doesn’t represent us anyway.

We should about this and wonder, how can we recover and make they do? What can we do as citizens to get this back? Get them to represent us instead of them. Be for us and work for us and not work for them. Neither work for the corporations or the cronies, but work for us. That is not to much to ask for, but it wouldn’t be easy.

We have to work together and dismantle this. Because the governments cannot be traded-off and we be used only to vote before every term and then left astray. We cannot accept that the illegitimacy of the current state. With leaders disrespecting both their citizens and the state institutions to stay in power. That is how it is, but not how it should be.

I don’t have any solutions, but we have to start discussions and consider our ways. Think and find ways out of this mess. So we can leave a better world for the next generation. Not leave a world with leaders and states, where the citizens are disenfranchised and lost with few options. Where the corporations together with multi-national organizations are taken control, instead of the governments. That is not how its supposed to be with the civil service and the ministries/departments of our states.

We need change, we need something else. We shall not and should not accept to deliver this mess to the next generation. They never asked for this and should not have to work against it. We should deliver are better world to them and not leave a battlefield and a turmoil, while hoping we have given them the work ethic and the skills overcome it. Peace.

Mzee was it Warfare or Budget, Mr. President?

President Museveni: “Yes, it is true I was a rebel, but sometimes rebellion fails. I was fighting a just war” (#UGBudget17 Speech, 08.06.2017).

Today was the day the Budget Speech from Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) Matia Kasaija as the Parliament we’re delivered the total budget for the Financial Year of 2017/2018. This one has already been voted for and was a summery for the representatives in Parliament to know the values of their ministries and the projected use of the revenue of the state will have. Still, on this day, the President of 31 years, the rebel of 1980s decided to wear military fatigue and be wearing the gear as a General. He was not the executive in some sense, he was the military general. The gun-loving and militarized politician Museveni was allover today.

Therefore I have to take a piece of law, which could be used as the UPDF Act of 2005, where it states on 164: “Unauthorized sale or wearing of uniforms, etc.

(1) Any Person who, without authority –

(c) wears or uses any decoration supplied to or authorised for use by any member of the Defence Force or any decoration so nearly resembling that decoration as to be likely to deceive” (UPDF Act 2005).

So even if he is Commander-in-Chief and the Executive, he is still of contempt of the Parliament and their rules, when having to show-up in military fatigue or military uniform. As if he is storming to war and not trying to speak well of the budget framework and the voting for the post in the budget. This is clearly lacking the gravity of the acts of contempt. Wearing it in a sessions which is unauthorized or seem as wrong.

Therefore another part of the sub-section part (3): “Any person who by act, words, conduct or otherwise, falsely represents himself or herself to be a person who is or has been entitled to wear or use any uniform or decoration referred to in subsection (1) commits an offence and is, on convection, liable to imprisonment not exceeding three years” (UPDF Act 2005).

So when he as President is wearing the military fatigue or uniform in Parliament, I cannot take that man seriously for doing so. Even if he didn’t really violate the UPDF act, still his acts by words or even falsely representing himself, since he is not a full-time general, but a President of 30 years. His revolution or coup d’etat ended in 1986. A disco-tune that should have lost meaning two decades ago, but since he is still the President. That year is still magical like some of old Disney flicks.

Time to leave the Military Uniform Mr. President! Time to leave it behind and also be and act like a President. If he was in war or had to save Parliament from an angry powerful militia. Alas, it is not so! Time to relief the attire and be peaceful man, especially since he is supposed to help with the National Dialogue in South Sudan, but easier to sell arms than negotiate peace, right Mr. President?

So was it a sign of warfare from the President or his NRM Way to prove that the bullets gave him power to bless the budget? Peace.

Reference:

The Uganda People’s Defence Force Act 2005

#UGBudget17: Half borrowed and a third paid back in Interests!

Today the Ugandan government, the National Resistance Movement finally read the Shs. 29 Trillion budget for the 10th Parliament. However, it is not necessary the size of funds and all, which is allocated, but the way it is funded. Like “Government hopes to raise sh14.6 trillion in revenues to fund the 2017/2018 budget” (Uganda Debt Network, 08.06.2017). Of the 29 Trillion, they expect to get close to half of that, but the monies has get from somewhere and also be of use. What is left are relieved like this: “The balance sh14.3 trillion (49.5%) of the National Budget will be raised through internal and external borrowing” (Uganda Debt Network, 08.06.2017). With this in mind, half of the budget is adding more debt. So if a nation already having lots of debt and debt repayment, it still adds another half budget. This is a bad cycle of events.

There lets us put things in perspective: “Our concern is sh9.9trillion, which is 35% of the total budget, will be spent on debt repayment” (…) “Amount of money spent on debt repayment has escalated in the recent past now at 9.9 trillion for fy2017/18” (Uganda Debt Network, 08.06.2017).

Therefore, the state and the NRM are clearly getting funds through loans to pay-off their interests. AS the 35% of spending is on interest in the coming fiscal year. This should worry, even if the corruption, misspending of obnoxious amount of funds through the paradise of Okello house. Still, that 1/3 of the coming budget is paid interest on old loans, which are been made by this government and by this President. What it show is the lack of concern of the future and how sound fiscal policies. At this state, the government of Uganda are clearly footing the bill. They are filling in the blanks for where they in the past had happy donors filling the envelopes.

The NRM and President Museveni is overspending and misusing state reserves, as the revenue and the state coffers do not sustain this massive overspending. Certainly, it is visible, also the worry of the running interest rates and growing debt as close to half of this year alone are by loans. Neither if it is local, by foreign or multi-national financial institution does save the fact, that the state has a problem.

That of the coming fiscal year, the state is borrowing half, and repaying that with 35% says a lot. IT says the fiscal policies needs change and it is dire. The state are clearly walking the wrong path. And remember this, there will be supplementary budgets during the fiscal year, that will expose the overuse of funds and needs for more loans. Therefore, they are surely going to exploit the faith in future, without having the funds for it today. Peace.

Uganda: CSBAG – “Reducing Wastage and Curbing Inefficiences to Finance our Priorities for the FY 2017/2018 (09.04.2017)

Opinion: MPs now become tax-exempt is just another way of being unaccountable!

10th-parliament-sep-2016-p2

It is just one of them days where the madness continues at amp speed, where the government officials continue to eat off and sponge of the plate of the citizens. Where the concern for their own behalf counter their constituency and even their own conscience. With that in mind here is ill-spirited news from the National Assembly, the 10th Parliament of Uganda:

“This is after President Yoweri Museveni assented to the Income Tax Amendment Bill 2016. The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga told a plenary sitting on December 21, 2016 that the President signed the law on November 19th, which in essence means that their allowances on mileage and constituency allowances, sitting allowances for committee sessions, town running allowances, basic pay and car purchase allowances, will be exempted from taxes” (Parliamentary Watch, 22.12.2016).

Already as it happens, it is no surprise, none should be thinking that this could appear before the moon and sun, even the doubting stars would not dance of joy. They are just all where they, where are before and will be so after. Still, the constituency of these Members of Parliament, the people of Uganda should not accept this robbery, this negligent concern for their hard-earned taxed monies that been accumulated with vigour from the Uganda Revenue Authority.

This vicious attempt of eating of the spoils, the grandeur of greed while the people both in parties, in businesses and even civil servants doesn’t get paid on time. Banks are collapsing and businesses bailed out, still in this economic climate the wealth and richness are now beholden the men and woman who represent the ones paying the tax. It is amazing that a person earning little or nearly nothing pays VAT on products or on Airtime that become levied to pay for the tax-exemption of the MPs. Together with the ordinary paid tax on working hours and such. Still, the people representing the tax-base and the ones taxed are tax-exempt. Is not extraordinary, that the ones that leaders and representative does not have to pay tax and does not need to behold accountable for the work they do as representatives while they are serving the public.

We can question their moral integrity, the moral fabric of this design and act as they scrupulous extend their wealth on the cost of the population. The reach of malice and bravado that can only been seen as vicious attempt to allow thieving and become unaccountable. They are not ordinary citizens and not even careful law-abiding when it does not matter if they pay tax on their earned salaries.

The outcome of this matter is clear, they do not need to be accountable or even caring about transparency about their wages, their allowance and extra funds are exempt, and they can go by the merry, be jolly with the colleagues, and be sure that people won’t find out their real allowance or credible income. Since they are not really in need of filling that into the tax office or correct their income statement, since for reason number one: they are not levied any tax against in the near future. The law permits them to keep this in dark, the new forms of shady agreement and paid suits will be high flying and this while the proclaimed the URA has tried to put the memo: “have collected more money than ever before”. Still they have not counted in the estimated income or the current inflation to why the amounts of shillings collected has increased!

With that in mind if the collection and disrespect for paying tax will rise in the near, it is understandable as the disgraced MPs are sponging with no concern for their constituents, not on paper and not with concern for their pockets. They are only caring about their own pockets, not the pockets are clearing their checks and balances by the end of the month. The allowances and salaries are now secured as much as their growing wealth as well.

This is disrespecting the law-abiding citizens who themselves pay their levied taxes and are responsible, everyone who contribute their hard earned currency to the plate for common good, that common good is not to be sponged on the individuals who represent the ones who pay. They are supposed to share it to generate a working government with institutions who servers the public and the people. As well securing salaries to teachers, doctors and civil servants, which is the MPs as well, but not for them to become wealthy.

These MPs, this President Museveni has forgotten the basics, he has forgotten policies and what makes a grand state, he has forgotten and it has dwindled in his power-grabbing ways. The thieving starts from him and ends with him, his sign and signature on a damaging bill that creates a vacuum between the citizens and the representatives in Parliament.

President Museveni has forgotten due-diligence and even self-respect as all he wants to do is eat and let his loyal elite eat; so they will vote for his bills instead of concerning them with the people, the citizens who they represent. They can pay for their cars, their houses and salaries, but the MPs do not need to be accountable or even pay tax for it. Because the honourable, the elite, these Members of Parliament think they deserve to be grander and wealthier than the ones they represent. In addition, how wrong they are, because they are supposed to understand and make the citizens life better and their needs for better future. Now they are only concern with their own. That is not a good look, it is a bad one and it is self-inflicted. Peace.

Uganda: CSBAG statement on the Income Tax (Amendment) Act 2016 (21.12.2016)

csbag-21-12-2016

Uganda: Where is the Income Tax Bill 2016? (14.12.2016)

ug-income-tax-14-12-2016-p1ug-income-tax-14-12-2016-p2

Uganda: Members of Parliament seek legal ways to evade taxes! Citizens rise up (20.11.2016)

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The Amendment of the Income Tax Act in Uganda; is the first out of many freedoms that the Members of Parliament have given themselves

Uganda Parliament Museveni

It’s been hectic around the Amendment for the Income Tax that has opened the possibility for Members of Parliament and the ones on Diplomatic Missions to not be paying the Income Tax in Uganda. There been an outrage on Social Media, therefore I started to look into it. First will I add the specific amendment that was voted in Parliament now in April 2016, that’s give’s the Members of Parliament no Income Tax, because older laws already gives them Immunity. Certainly this is gift basket to the coming 10th Parliament, as the 9th Parliament gives a tax-break to themselves, as they already have certain obligations and other services provided by law; and that is not so strange they are the makers of laws, so they have made laws that fits them and gives them advantages.

Uganda Shillings

Orignal Law before the Amendment:

93. Cases where returns of income not required

Unless requested by the Commissioner by notice in writing, no return of income shall be

furnished under this Act for a year of income-

(a) by a nonresident person where subsection (4) of section 4 or paragraph (c) of

section 87 or both apply to all the income derived from sources in Uganda by

the person during the year of income; or (effective 1st July, 2001- Income Tax

(Amendment) Act, 2002)

(b) by a resident individual-

(i) to whom section 4 (4) applies; or (effective 1st July, 2001- Income Tax

(Amendment) Act, 2002)

(ii) whose total chargeable income for the year of income is subject to the

zero rate of tax under Part I of the Third Schedule to this Act!” (The Income Tax Act, 1st July, 1997)

Ugandan shillings

Here is the what the Amendment of 2016 does to this section:

“Unless requested by the Commissioner by notice in writing, no return of income shall be

furnished under this Act for a year of income-

(a) by a nonresident person where subsection (4) of section 4 or paragraph (c) of

section 87 or both apply to all the income derived from sources in Uganda by

the person during the year of income; or (effective 1st July, 2001- Income Tax

(Amendment) Act, 2002)

(b) by a resident individual-

(i) to whom section 4(4) applies, except persons employed by diplomatic missions and prescribed organisations on which diplomatic immunities and privileges are conferred;”. (effective 1st July 2016 – Income Tax (Amendment) Act 2016)

(ii) whose total chargeable income for the year of income is subject to the

zero rate of tax under Part I of the Third Schedule to this Act!”

So with the important Amendment to the Tax law tha set the standard for the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges. They are no except from the Income Tax. That means that the Income or Pay that they are getting so not taxed or their salary is now Tax-Free.

Uganda-parliament-2

And as this complies with Scetion 4 (4) here is what that says:

“4. Income tax imposed:

(4) Where the gross income of a taxpayer for a year of income consists exclusively of

employment income derived from a single employer from which tax has been withheld as

required under section 116, the income tax payable by the taxpayer for the year of income

is the amount equal to the sum of the amounts required to be withheld from such income

under section 116” (The Income Tax Act, 1st July, 1997).

So just to take the last piece of law to put this all together and give meaning while it have created a fuzz and been question what this part of law means that people with Diplomatic Immunity get exception from Income Tax. Even if the Third Part of Law says that people who lives most of the days in Uganda have to pay Income in Uganda, but with this new text to the law, that certain people are exempt and doesn’t have to cough-up the money.

This is what the Parliament (Power and Privileges) Act of 1955 of 24th February 1955 say this in the act:

“2. Immunity from legal proceedings.

No civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any member for words spoken before, or written in a report to, Parliament or to a committee, or by reason of any matter or thing brought by the member in Parliament or a committee by petition, bill, motion or otherwise” ( Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act 1955).

Internal Memo Uganda Parliament 2013

And lets not forget this act to called Parliament (Remuneration of Members) Act 1981, that is still active and give certain benefits the Members of Parliament. It came into effect on 1st July 1981 and is still active and this is what it says:

“4. Regulations:

“amenities” includes housing, transport, medical attention, domestic servants, security guards and secretarial services;

“Minister” means the Minister responsible for public service and Cabinet affairs”, (Parliament (Remuneration of Members) Act 1981).

So they have no cut the Income Tax because the Parliament Law of 1955 gives the Immunity and therefore are they under the provision of the exemption. That is not surprising, but that is a fact. So it is clear that the end of 9th Parliament will be self-serving an in their own interest and not for any common-good for the people.  And the ability of still having colonial laws that are active and not terminated is a little profound for me. As the NRM Regime have tried to rewrite everything, but seems that certain relics of the past is a good thing, if it gives them more power or ability to harass the opposition or control fellow peers. The Immunity of Members of Parliament together with Amenities and now the exception of Income Tax proves the levels of positive acts that are made for MPs to be able to paid salaries and amenties without paying Income Tax. That is astonishing and questionable. That the Minister of Parliament can get funding for housing, transport, medical attention, servants, securities and sectorial services without paying Income Tax on the Salary that are getting. With the benefit of Immunity!

So some laws from the Colonial Past and one law made by Obote II gives an edge together with the new amendment of a law made two years after the “Museveni Constitution” of 1995. Certainly there some ironies that the Members of Parliament are getting funded amenities under the NRM Regime because of President Obote and his UNLA and UPC fixed it 5 years before NRA overthrow them. But that is just me.

The levels of self-serving is just continuing the traditions in the Ugandan Parliament. This is all the way from 1955 to 2016. It might be 50 years apart, still the same mentality is there and the men of power wish to extent their power, if it is immunity, impunity or exception from taxes. The same powers and same common greed is there. As showed in the laws that inflicts the Cabinet and the Members of Parliament. Peace.  

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