Representation of workers in parliament has hardly achieved much for them. A simple look at the streets of
It is my opinion, therefore, that opposition to the proposed local service tax by workers' MP's is myopic and disgustingly populist. What should be opposed is any unfair assessment of each individual's obligations to make sure that it is not oppressive; not the tax per se. The tax has the potential of increasing employment opportunities and improving service delivery in rural towns and areas. Though not easy to accurately establish, I am certain that employed Ugandans have in some way borne the burden of the unemployed and poor service delivery in rural areas through disbursements for everything from extended family members' school uniforms to human and animal medical care. An increase in public cash in rural areas has the potential of stimulating economic activity there and reducing financial burdens on directly elected politicians who are costing the economy a lot of money.
Our workers' MP's should instead be constructive and suggest that the Bonna Bagaggawale scheme, SACCO's, commercial banks, microfinance and other financial institutions incorporate the local service tax into the products and services offered to their customers. This would most of all go a long way in popularising and promoting a saving culture among workers at all levels. Local governments can use these institutions to collect the tax as well as distribute the tax certificates in convenient ways to both the taxpayer and collector. Those who feel that a lump sum payment would hurt them can make arrangements with their respective financial services provider to pay for them the full amount which would be recovered in instalments convenient to and agreed upon by both parties. After all is said, the local service tax should not be outrightly opposed. What should be opposed is the magnitude of its burden on payers.
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