Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has defended the 15 percent tax on betting, describing it as similar to income tax charged on other productive activities.
Previously, tax on betting activities stood at 35 percent and was borne by the gambling companies. But the tax will now be shared between the gambling companies and the winners, at a rate of 20 percent and 15 percent respectively.
One Ugandan youth identified as Brian Isingoma argued that the tax on betting is likely to force the companies out of Uganda. He raised concern that many unemployed youth are finding solace in betting and that taxing them is like double punishment.
But URA Commissioner-General Doris Akol says that although betting has become a critical sector in the economy, a number of young men are actually employing their productive time in gaming.
Akol argued that gamblers engage in what she termed “chosen employment,” adding that they deploy their productive time into betting in which they make winnings which should attract taxes.
On the imposition of zero tax on menstrual caps which raised queries as to why on the caps have been tax exempted and not sanitary wear in general, Akol clarified that the exemptions deal with all. She said initially menstrual caps had been excluded from the list.
Catherine Wanyana, a young business lady from Makindye Division in Kampala wondered why reduction in taxes does not translate into reduction in actual cost of products. She called for government control in such situations.
The government persistently argues that it is pursuing a free market economy in which prices are determined by the forces of demand and supply.