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Museveni’s order exempting gold exporters from taxes costs Uganda Ugx 4.5 trillion


Museveni’s order exempting gold exporters from taxes costs Uganda Ugx 4.5 trillion

Ms. Irene Batebe, Energy Ministry PS

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has told Parliament that a cabinet executive order that halted levying of export taxes on gold has now cost the country up to Ugx 4.5 trillion.

Ms. Irene Batebe told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament that in early 2023 some seven companies secured the executive order not to pay tax. To date, the money from unpaid taxes stands at Ugx4.5m, said Batebe.

The MPs tasked the Energy Ministry PS to table the executive order so that

The MPs had summoned Batebe to task her to explain queries that were raised in the Auditor General’s report 2023 showing loss of revenue arising from unpaid taxes by some of the licensed gold exporters.

Companies like Bullion Refinery Limited, Aurnish Trading Limited and Metal Testing and others obtained a court order in early April 2023 that halted collection of export levy on gold. The court order is still in force up to today and as a result the companies are exporting gold without paying off the levy. To date, 272.10 Kilograms of gold has been exported by the three companies with paying export levy amounting to UGX 3,178, 790,156

The PAC Chairperson ruled that the ministry should furnish the committee with the relevant documents detailing the names of directors of these companies that are trying to evade taxes on gold.

Basil Bataringaya Kashari North MP stressed that the ministry should provide proof and justification for the halting collection of these gold revenues.

“So what we have requested through our chair is that this Executive Order should be tabled to us as a written document, because if it’sl not written then its hearsay from the PS and if we don’t get it then we will go ahead to recommend parliament to look into this matter to ensure that people who do mining and benefit from it should in return pay some taxes to finance service delivery,” Bataringaya said.

Geoffrey Ekanya, Tororo County North MP, regretted President Museveni’s decision on taxation of gold, saying this is unfair to other taxpayers who contribute to the delivery of services like health, infrastructure development among others.

Citing the Constitution that designates the position of Finance Minister to the President, Ekanya wants President Museveni to appear before the committee and explain his decision since it has serious financial implications for the country’s budget.

He added that the President and civil servants should not play games, as a country we want taxes to ensure that our roads are good, we want taxes to ensure that our schools are good. There is too much money in gold, Rwanda’s economy is supported by Gold.

The distortions in tax administration come at a time when the country is facing a colossal debt of more than UGX96 trillion (USD25bn) which is equivalent to 52 percent of the country’s GDP.

Repaying the current debt stock will require every Ugandan to pay UGX2.5M on average and yet the companies that export the world’s most valuable mineral, have been given a free ride.



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