PRESS STATEMENT: Released 20th November 2016  

Members of Parliament seek Legal ways to Evade Taxes! Citizens Rise Up.
As you are aware, on 15th November 2016, Parliament returned the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to the President with a proposal to exempt MPs allowances from Taxes. The new Insertion under the Income Tax bill by MPs under Sec.21 “(qa) the employment income of person employed as a Member of Parliament, except salary” intends to  create a tax exemption on MPs’ emoluments and allowances, and adds to the list of special groups that are exempt for paying tax in their allowances (Police men, soldiers and prisons). The move for the MPs to insist on exempting their allowances from tax comes at a time when the country is grappling with resources to buy each of the 431 MPs a car for their term of service in the 10th Parliament. 

We would like to note whereas the average basic pay of an MP, for tax purposes is UGX 11.18m and that their average contribution to tax is 3.374m, an MPs in Uganda earns anywhere between 20 – 27 million (including other allowances). And in the spirit of the Ugandan Income tax law, which is progressive, the more you earn, the more you should pay. This should appeal more to the MPs who represent the poor communities from which we all come. 

Published: 26th October 2016

Fiscal decentralization reforms: CSOs make health sector proposals to gov’t of ugandaThe Health sector budget allocation in FY 2016/17 increased by 44% from last financial year UGX1, 270.81bn in FY2015/16 to UGX 1,826.49bn this financial year. The Health sector objectives include; improving population health outcomes and well-being, reducing health inequalities, and ensuring a citizen-centered health system that is universal, equitable, sustainable and of a high quality. In order to achieve this, Ministry of Health focuses on implementation of National Health Policy II (NHPII) whose priority areas include: 

  • Establishing a functional integration within the public and private sector, addressing the human resource gaps and related service delivery challenges. 
  • Strengthening health System in line with decentralization, reconceptualising and organizing supervision and monitoring of health systems at all levels 

Health sector grants are provided to Local Governments and health facilities to provide health services, in order to achieve universal health coverage with emphasis on access, quality and affordability aspects. 

With the use of the fiscal decentralization reforms, Local Governments (LGs) will be able to enhance adherence to core budget and accountability requirements, strengthen functioning of LG processes, systems and incentive attainments of service delivery results. 

While the recent LG Health Sector Guidelines and the attendant budget allocation formula are a step in the right direction, Civil Society has made a critical analysis of the same and come up with recommendations for the guidelines to be more robust and effective. 

GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Where Private not for Profit Health Facilities (PNFPs) exist and there is no Government Health facility, they should be treated equally (Allocated the same amount of money/funds as that of a government health facility). In addition PNFPs should provide services at subsidized prices (capping of costs of services fess/ performance bonds).

  • During reporting by LGs, focus should be put on the patients’ Area of residence to capture the catchment popula-tion of those health Facilities serving more than one district. Non – Sector Actors should be involved in the for-mulation of sector policies and monitoring.

  • Allocation Formula for Health Facilities in Lower local Governments should be developed and used in allocating funds to promote equity within the districts

  • Sensitization of LG office Bearers on how to implement guidelines and reforms and PNFS- that get funds from other sources should provide subsidized services (capping of costs of service fees)/performance bond.

Published: 12th October 2016

CSOS advise government on monthly barazasUganda Debt Network (UDN) participated in a Social Accountability Forum that was organized by World Vision, on 28th September, 2016. This forum brought various actors from Government, Donors, Media, CSOs and Private Sectors together with an aim of creating a platform for sharing experiences, stories of change, and to build synergies between Government Accountability Mechanism and Social Accountability efforts by Non State Actors. 

UDN shared her Social Accountability approach called Community Based Monitoring and Evaluation system (CBMES) that aims at stimulating community interest to take charge of their own development process and increase citizen voices. UDN has continued to strengthen her partners and allies to articulate and influence policies at local and national level. The efforts have yielded an effective interface between policy-makers and the communities in promotion of public accountability and improved service delivery.