URA: Middlemen Cheating Ugandans On Water Tax

The 18 percent Value Added Tax on domestic water as announced by the Minister of Finance Maria Kiwanuka, in her budget speech, is no cause for alarm.

URA boss Allen Kagina
URA boss Allen Kagina

John Mayanja Walakira, an Assistant Commissioner at Uganda Revenue Authority, says however that the high prices charged are illegally put up by middlemen.

Mayanja explains that in actual terms a litre of water according to the National Water and Sewerage Corporation costs 1.92 shillings for domestic water. VAT would then cost about 34 cents. For a 20 litre jerrycan the tax component amounts to seven shillings for the cost of 38.4 shillings.

However, water consumers are forced to buy a jerrycan at 150 or 200 shillings which Mayanja says is a burden put on them by the seller and not government.

Civil society organisations faulted government for the 18 percent tax on water with health organisations calling it the Typhoid tax. But Mayanja says with VAT inclusive, domestic water should cost 45 shillings a jerrycan.

Moses Ogwapus, the Acting Assistant Commissioner in the Tax Policy Department at the Ministry of Finance, explains that the overall intention to increase VAT on water is to increase the budget for National Water to enable it extend water services around the country.

This is due to the fact that by 2012, over 10 million Ugandans still lacked access to safe water especially piped tap water. Ogwapus notes that majority of Ugandans use water from boreholes and protected springs who will not be affected by the tax regime.

He adds that to the extent that the ordinary people even in Kampala do not consume tap water, the tax will only affect the rich who use water to wash cars, water lawns and have connected sewage systems among others.

The 18 percent VAT on water takes effect on 1st July 2013.

2 thoughts on “URA: Middlemen Cheating Ugandans On Water Tax

  1. URA needs to hold a national consultative meeting to have the public and all concerned citizens understand why the new tax on water otherwise the common man is gonna suffer the price hikes by greedy water sales come 1st July 2013. URA should be very mindful that the rich who are the prime target are the most defaulters on paying water bills NWSC can attest to this.

    Water as its known is a human right and people will resort to using well and spring water making tap water become useless and quote mi right come June 2014 URA will be telling us they have a shortfall in taxes and water will not bring in the anticipated 8bn

  2. Can some one help me to understand the meaning of this story about water and URA, when “John Mayanja Walakira, an Assistant Commissioner at Uganda Revenue
    Authority, says however that the high prices charged are illegally put
    up by middlemen”.

    Who are those middle men, where did they come and who gives them that work of being middle men? who hold the duty of protecting all citizens of Uganda/ tax payer,

    did we vote for middle men in power, i thought all along NRM was voted in power to protect people and its constitution, and URA i believe works for the government of Uganda, so in short what does Mayanja mean to us, should we stop paying water bills since we know that middle men are cheating us, what was he trying to mean to the public, are middle men beyond the laws of the land

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