Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Chinese doing business in Uganda have today engaged the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) seeking clarification on several tax administration concerns, most notably how to get tax exemptions.
In the meeting with URA officials, the business community under the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Uganda SINOCHAM was led by Jacqueline Jiang the commercial consular at the Chinese embassy in Uganda.
Jiang says that China and Uganda have very good bilateral relations. And that China is one of those influential partners which supported Uganda during the Covid-19 surge, and when they get to know how the tax policy works they will avoid any clashes with the authorities.
Jiang says that the China, Uganda relationship upgraded to a comprehensive cooperative partnership, and that is why they have constructed numerous infrastructural project and look forward to establishing 25 industrial parks in the next 5 years;
She adds that in the pursuit of understanding the tax policy, the two countries are working together to improve the well-being of the investors, and this is one of the many engagements yet to come.
“The two countries see room in the tax policies where the investors can be protected,” Jiang mentions.
Joseph Zheng the spokesperson of SINOCHAM, said that they will bridge the gap between the Chinese business community and the government agencies, and when they clearly understand the tax policy in Uganda, they can easily share with prospective investors in China.
According to Zheng the SINOCHAM has over 110 member companies including large taxpayers and traders, and they are persuading many others to come and invest in Uganda because of its environment, and tax exemption will be a very big enticement.
Tax exemption has always been a controversial topic among the ordinary Ugandans who have always opposed them. However, it is provided for in the local and the East African protocols. The government has always used it to encourage foreign investments in economic development.
Michael Mesembe, the acting manager for tax education at URA, says that though this has been the first engagement about the topic, the authority and the Chinese embassy are working to establish such enlightenment meetings more frequently.
Mesembe adds that though the challenges faced by the business sector in Uganda are the same, the language barrier has greatly affected the Chinese yet they need to understand;
He adds that when the Chinese seek to understand tax exemptions, it is a sign of interest which will lead to increased production, adding the exemptions are for everyone but they have been misunderstood due to the “misinformation flow”.
Alex Rubanga the tariff manager at URA, says that it is the duty of the tax body to avail information to whoever wants it at any time, and as for thentax exemptions, the regulations governing them are very clearly stipulated and whoever meets them qualifies