INFORMATION state minister Dr. Nsaba Buturo (above) has told Parliament that the television tax still stands and people owning TV sets are liable to pay it, contrary to a State House announcement made on Monday.
Responding to queries raised by MPs on the issue, Buturo said the statement was a misrepresentation of the Presidentâ€™s directive. He said the tax is for everybody but the implementation is to start in Kampala.
â€œThe tax is to be paid by all. I advise you, honourable members, to pick up the forms and pay the tax, because it has not been scrapped. That was a misrepresentation of what was agreed on,â€ Buturo said.
MPs Aggrey Awori, Odonga Otto and Henry Banyenzaki said Buturoâ€™s statement was confusing the nation, prompting the Deputy Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, to ask the minister to prepare a statement that he would present to the House to clarify the issue.
President Yoweri Museveni this week directed Nsaba Buturo to stop levying tax on TV sets that are not used for commercial purpose.
Museveni issued the directive while meeting members of the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) at State House Nakasero.
The president told UBC members that â€œany tax that affects the bakopi (peasants) should be avoided.â€
Museveniâ€™s deputy Press Secretary Tamale Mirundi said yesterday that he had not received any instruction from his boss to retract the statement issued on Monday.
Buturo announced last month that TV owners would pay sh20,000 annually or sh1,600 monthly as licence fees.
Buturo said UBC would generate sh40b annually to offer quality service to its clients.
The deadline for payment of the tax passed quietly on August 31.
Buturo told a government weekly press briefing at Nakasero that inspectors would crack down on defaulters starting on September 1.
UBC contracted a South African company, TV Licence Ltd, to collect the fees.
Mary Bryant, its managing director, said on Friday that their survey found about two million TV sets in the country.
Bryant said the company started collecting the fees at the designated Post Office centres on August 1 and the response, â€œhas been good.â€
A person who defaults on the tax is liable to a fine not exceeding sh50,000 or to imprisonment not exceeding 30 days or both.
TV tax still on, says Buturo