The rage across the population about MPs purportedly trying to evade tax is based on lack of information, the Rubanda County MP who last week successfully moved the motion in which the Parliament quickly amended the income tax bill.
Musasizi said: “There is a gross public misunderstanding about this whole matter because many Ugandans don’t know the difference between our actual income and the money given to us as facilitation to do parliament’s work.”
“Taxation is only done on employment income and we are against the practice to tax money given to us as parliament’s employees as facilitation to do work we are employed to do, ” Musasizi added.
Musasizi says he and his colleagues have not opposed paying tax but that they want to pay tax only on salary of Ushs11.8m, and not on allowances, like other civil servants.
Musasizi says that since February 2016, when the high court ruled to slap taxes on MPs income, the members have been losing Ushs9m each and this tax was impossed on gross pay including allowances, bringing total tax to about Ushs9m as opposed to Ushs3.4 that they would ordinarily have paid.
According to Musasizi, “the hullabaloo” about MPs emoluments is caused by a lack of public sensitization which he says all MPs have resolved to embark on in an effort to clean their public image.
“All this is arising from the fact that there is lack of public sensitization about the way members of parliament are paid causing bias about MPs. But without sensitization this kind of perception is understandable because it is hard to believe that the over Ushs20m is not fully ours.”
Facilitation not even enough
Musasizi alleges that even the facilitation they receive to run a constituency is just not enough adding that if all MPs were allowed to give accountability for the money they spend on work done on their constituencies they would be justified to ask for reimbursements.
”For example, I spend over Ushs5million in my constituency every month and yet parliament facilitates me only to the tune of Ushs3m leaving me with a deficit of Ushs1.5m,” explains Musasizi.
Responding to the move by some members of the Civil Society to persuade President Museveni from assenting to the bill when it finally lands at his desk, Musasizi said they will fight on nonetheless.