“We are not paying any taxes to KCCA because we cannot collect dues from traders without KCCA assessing them."
KAMPALA - As the wrangles pertaining to ownership and management of city abattoirs continue, the traders operating there have not paid any taxes or royalties to city authorities for the last five years.
Established in 1935, City Abattoir which is the source of beef for most of Kampala and its environs has been rocked with ownership and management wrangles following a decision by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to issue a 49-year lease to businessman Hassan Basajabalaba in 2011.
Lawmakers sitting on the presidential affairs committee of parliament heard on Wednesday that the traders at City Abattoir are not remitting any taxes to KCCA because the city authorities are yet to respond to their ‘pleas' to have them (traders) assessed for taxation purposes.
"We are not paying any taxes to KCCA because we cannot collect dues from traders without KCCA assessing them. Our only interaction with KCCA is through inspection of the premises for sanitation purposes and certification of beef," Meddie Nsubuga, the secretary general of City Traders Development Association (CTDA) told MPs.
CTDA is the umbrella body of traders and butchers operating at City Abattoir. CTDA executive members with Chrisestom Katumba, an advocate with Lukwago & Co. Advocates, were at parliament to answer queries about the management wrangles at City Abattoir.
"We wrote to KCCA but we were informed that the abattoir was leased to Basajjabalaba who has a right to use the abattoir as he pleases," Nsubuga said.
Further scrutiny by the committee chaired by Col. Fred Mwesigye revealed that CTDA wrote to KCCA to moot the idea of paying taxes last month yet it took over management in 2011.
Following KCCA's decision to lease City Abattoir to Basajjabalaba, the latter entered into a sublease agreement with a one Dan Kawatampola Katahirwa to manage the place.
Attempts by Katahirwa to take possession of City Abattoir resulted into skirmishes as traders and butchers operating at the premises violently resisted his authority.
The result has been a series of pending law suits and counter claims which have prevented both Basajjabalaba and Katahirwa from taking management of City Abattoir.
This vacuum in ownership has been filled by CTDA whose leadership wants KCCA to cancel Basajjabalaba's lease on account of alleged fraud in the process that led to its granting.
In his recent appearance before the same committee over the same issue, Basajjabalaba accused Lukwago and Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura of benefitting from about sh20b collected illegally from livestock traders at city abattoirs.
Basajjabalaba told the committee that Lukwago and Kayihura have been collecting sh10 daily from cattle traders at the abattoir for the last five years.
Kayihura was expected to interface with the committee over the matter yesterday but he did not turn up and Mwesigye did not give reasons for his no show.