By Mariam Nalunkuuma
Public service and local government committee, Charles Byaruhanga (Kibaale), has said vacant sites in urban centres and municipalities should be taxed.
While reviewing the Local Government Rating Bill 2003 on Wednesday, Byaruhanga said local authorities should start taxing vacant sites to get more revenue.
â€œThere are many vacant sites in the city and other urban centres, which are not taxed, yet they do not belong to the local authorities or Uganda Land Board,â€ he said.
Byaruhanga said the Bill defines property as immovable property, which includes all buildings or structures but excludes vacant sites, yet they are liable to taxation.
â€œLegally, the definition of property includes land and developments on it. But if we are to go by the definition of the Bill, it is going to encourage individuals to own land by speculation and the local authorities will not get enough revenue out of them,â€ Byaruhanga said.
He said some vacant plots of land, which are not taxed by Kampala City Council include the one opposite the Central Police Station, the one below Kololo Airstrip and National Social Security Fundâ€™s land near Crested Towers.
â€œSince the value of land in these areas is appreciating every day, it should be taxed,â€ Byaruhanga said.
Anthony Yiga (Kalungu East) said, â€œLand attracts ground rent tax, while any development on the land attracts property tax. Such vacant sites should also be taxed.â€