By Simon Abaho
The Ministry of Health is currently seeking shillings nine billion to clear Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) taxes for the newly purchased COVID-19 double cabin pick-ups before they start being deployed.
While appearing before the Parliamentary COVID-19 task force on Wednesday, Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said that her ministry has failed to clear 121 pickups because of tax issues.
“We requested finance to waive the taxes since this was money from a donation and Finance has responded in negative, saying that we need to look for the money and clear,” Dr. Aceng told the committee.
The said 121 double cabin pick-ups are part of the 282 vehicles that the ministry is said to have purchased from Toyota Uganda earlier this month at Shs23.9 billion, part of the Shs29 billion donation from the public in the first wave of the pandemic last year.
Dr. Aceng said that the ministry is now stuck, yet the cars are accruing costs which will also have to be paid.
The minister asked the committee to help in the negotiations with the finance ministry to have the taxes waived so that the vehicles can be used by the health ministry.
The Parliamentary Committee on COVID-19 is led by MP Abdu Katuntu and it wants the taxes to be waived so that the cars can be used by the Ministry of Health.
Katuntu said that it is not a ‘smart decision’ to have the cars impounded over taxes and therefore urged the finance ministry to waive them off.