The Monitor (Kampala)
September 16, 2003
Posted to the web September 15, 2003
Patrick Onyango

MPs Exempt Aga Khan From VAT

PARLIAMENT- Members of Parliament have passed a bill exempting Aga Khan Development Agencies from paying Value Added Tax (Vat).

The Minister of State for Finance (General Duties), Mwesigwa-Rukutana, tabled the Value Added Tax Amendment Bill 2003 last week.

He said the Aga Khan Development Agencies deserve to be exempted from VAT, because they have contributed significantly to the development of Uganda.

He said the Aga Khan agencies need to be encouraged through incentives. Rukutana said by exempting the agencies, the MPs blessed the protocol President Yoweri Museveni signed with the leader of Aga Khan agencies recently.

The MPs, however, had opposed the bill, saying that they cannot pass the law without knowing the specific agencies named in the protocol.

The MPs said that some companies could easily come up and claim they belong to the foundation.

Mr Aggrey Awori (Samia Bugwe North) asked Rukutana whether The Monitor newspaper is a beneficiary. He argued that The Monitor could claim to be a beneficiary because Aga Khan through The Nation Media Group bought shares in The Monitor.

"Will this law also affect The Monitor?" Awori asked.

Rukutana produced the protocol and the list of the agencies that are supposed to be exempt from paying VAT.

He said that The Monitor is not a beneficiary of the said law (exemption from VAT).

Agencies that are exempt are; the Aga Khan University, health projects and the education sector.

The leader of the Ismaili Muslims, his Highness the Aga Khan, visited Uganda recently and signed various protocols with government ministers and Museveni.