The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija has said Uganda’s economy is growing although some regions in the country are not growing.
“There are some areas where poverty is still biting hard despite (he fact that) some parts have already achieved middle income status,” Kasaija said without disclosing the regions.
World Bank ranks middle income countries as those whose per capita income (annual earnings per person) averages between US$1,036 and US$12,615. This means Uganda is battling to attain a Lower Middle Income status (US$1,036).
Per capita income is the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a country divided by the total population.
It gives an indication of the average earnings per person in a year. However, according to the World Bank, Uganda’s per capita income stands at US$643.1 as of 2018. Other agencies put it at US$724 which is still below the threshold for attaining middle income status (lower).
Kasaija also confessed that Government has run out of expanding its tax base, noting that there is a possibility that some people owning properties are not paying taxes the way they are supposed to do.
The Minister made the remarks at the Economic Summit held at Serena Hotel in Kampala today.
He said it was about time farmers started paying taxes in this country if Uganda is to increase its GDP ratio.
“For as long as you stay in Uganda, you need to pay tax, if you don’t, you are cheating yourself. How do I increase our tax GDP ratio? Me I have scratched my head with the people I work with, in vain. There is money but where we don’t know where it is going,” Kasaija said.
During the discussion, Prof. Samuel Sejjaaka, a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and a Certified Public Accountant of Uganda lashed out at Government for taxing Ugandans to death.
“Government is taxing this economy to death. What even hurts more is that when revenue is mobilised, it is then used to buy cars. This makes it hard to sustain effective taxation,” Sejjaaka said.
He added: “When I hear my colleagues in Government talking about business and things like discipline, accountability and others, I always wonder why they are in Government and not doing business with us. If you are not doing anything for the government, you hardly have anything to say, we are all beholden to the government.”