By Joel Ogwang
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has requested the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to exempt it from paying taxes on firefighting trucks and other non-commercial aviation equipment.
Ignie Igunduura, the CAA manager public affairs, said the equipment has no commercial value.
“The companies that manufacture the trucks do so on order. When we place an order for a truck at $1m (about sh2.5b), we end up paying an additional sh400m in taxes to URA, yet the trucks are not intended for profits,” Igunduura said.
He added that the trucks are only deployed on emergency responses when fires break out in Entebbe and Kampala.
“Should we start charging a fee for each emergency we intervene in? The trucks have no commercial value, so URA should not tax them,” he said.
Igunduura made the remarks while guiding journalists on a tour of Entebbe airport over the weekend.
David Kakuba, the CAA Uganda deputy managing director, said the 20-year Civil Aviation Master Plan is nearing completion. Ineco, a Spanish transport engineering and consultancy firm, was hired by the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organisation to implement the plan.
An estimated 1.5 million visitors will be passing through Entebbe airport by 2019 anually. Experts say it has to increase its handling capacity four fold to handle a projected six million passengers annually by 2033.
Arua, Hoima and Pakuba airfields will also be developed into international airports to handle the expected increase in air travel following oil production.
Kidepo, Gulu and Soroti airfields will be turned into regional airports and airfields in Moroto, Mbarara, Kisoro and Tororo will be rehabilitated.
“We project that Entebbe airport will be handling 1.5 million passengers by 2019. This shows how dynamic the growth of aviation is, and with petroleum production soon to take off, we will need to increase capacity, but we lack adequate land for expansion,” Kakuba noted.
In a bid to expand Entebbe airport from the current 400 acres it currently sits on, President Yoweri Museveni recommended that the agriculture ministry shares its 132 acres of land with CAA Uganda.
“We can get land adjacent to the small peninsular holding the airport if only we can get commitment from the Government to compensate the owners,” Kakuba said.