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Heritage must pay - President Museveni

By Vision Reporter

Added 23rd August 2010 03:00 AM

HERITAGE, a London-based oil firm which is embroiled in a tax dispute with the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), will have to pay the money in full, President Yoweri Museveni has said.

By Frank Mugabi

HERITAGE, a London-based oil firm which is embroiled in a tax dispute with the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), will have to pay the money in full, President Yoweri Museveni has said.

The firm that explored and discovered commercial oil and gas reserves in Uganda, recently sold its stakes to Italian giant, Eni, for $1.35b, but they have been adamant to clear a $404.9m capital gain tax assessed by URA.

The company that spent just $135m (sh337b) on exploration, says it has advice from tax experts that the disposal of its assets was not subject to tax, an argument that the Government strongly opposes.

After being pressurised, Heritage deposited $121,477,500 of the disputed tax of $404,925,000 on the URA account.

The balance of $283,447,500 was secured in an escrow account in Standard Chartered Bank, pending the resolution of the tax deadlock.

However, speaking during a radio talkshow on NBS FM in Jinja town on Friday, President Museveni said all efforts will be made to recover all the money.

He noted that the company ought to have met its obligation because even the $135m they spent on exploration is to be refunded to them in oil form.

The President was reacting to residents’ concerns over the high fuel prices.

He said the prices would dramatically reduce once the country starts refining its oil, estimated to be about two billion barrels.

The Government chief whip, Daudi Migereko, who accompanied the President to the studio, said oil shipping companies had increased their rates due to an upsurge in piracy in the Indian Ocean.

The President is on a 10-day visit to promote the Prosperity-for-All (Bonna Bagaggawale) programme in Busoga region.

Heritage must pay - President Museveni

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