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MPs support private schools against new tax

PARLIAMENT- Government could be forced to review its plans to impose a new tax on private schools after MPs, including those from the ruling NRM party, yesterday backed the schools petition against the proposal to terminate tax exemption to privately owned educational institutions.
Quoting President Museveni’s July 26, 2007 letter on removal of taxes from private schools, the MPs on the Parliamentary Education Committee led by Kalungu West MP Joseph Ssewungu and Ms Angelline Osege (Soroti Woman) said the tax would kill the education sector, burden Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) schools as wells as parents.

“ Drop the droposal”
“If government wants to tax private schools and universities, let them first establish schools in all the sub-counties in the country and also do something about the poor quality education in public schools, otherwise, taxing private schools is going to kill the sector,” Ms Osege said. Mr Ssewungu and other legislators asked government to drop the proposal.

“In case the government has forgotten, the biggest number of teachers is employed by private schools they want to cripple,” Mr Ssewungu said.

But explaining the President’s letter, Information minister Rose Namayanja on Tuesday said the letter was written seven years ago and that “this was a tax holiday to private schools”.

“The tax holiday given to private schools was not perpetual, the donors have cut aid because of what we believe in and we are trying to widen the tax base in order to finance our budget. In any case we are not taxing investment, we are targeting profits,” she said.

ymugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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