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Lake Kyoga Fishermen Exempted From Taxes For Six Months :: Uganda Radionetwork

Lake Kyoga Fishermen Exempted From Taxes For Six Months

Adona says that the tax holiday for fishermen is to help them recover from the losses incurred during the fishing ban.
Minister of State for Fisheries, Helen Adoa flags off fishing in Kagwara Landing Site.

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Minister of State for Fisheries, Helen Adoa has said that all fishermen on Lake Kyoga have been exempted from taxes for six months. This follows the resumption of fishing operations in Lake Kyoga after they were banned in January.

The fishermen are supposed to pay income tax in addition to other levies that include local government tax and a direct fishing license.

Adoa says that the tax exemption is to help fishermen recover from the losses incurred during the fishing ban. She explains that even after lifting the ban, most of the fishermen have loans that need to be paid before the government starts collecting revenue.

The Minister also stopped fishermen from travelling to Kampala to access Tax Identification Numbers- TINs from Uganda Revenue Authority- URA since it’s costly.

In the new fishing regulation, all the fishermen are required to register with URA and acquire TINs to enable easy taxation. In the process, each fisherman spends more than 100,000 shillings to acquire the TINs

// cue in “For the fishermen...

Cue out...even five shillings”//

The announcement of a tax waiver comes at a time local governments are struggling to raise local revenue. Since COVID-19 outbreak, districts in the region  located along the Lake Kyoga belt have suffered reductions in the revenue collections that were affected by the lockdown.

Gabriel Richard Atama, the Chief Administrative Officer Serere says the fishing sector contributes more than 20 percent of the local revenue to the district. 

Stella Anyait, a fishmonger in Kagwara wants the government to consider a special grant for the fishing community to help them cover the losses.

“We lost boats and fishing gears during the operation against illegal fishing. We have taken more than six months without any income-generating activity and yet the new recommended gears are very expensive. If the government can give as loans at subsidized rates, we shall manage to pay even the taxes”, she said.

Vincent Ssempijja, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, in his letter to the fishing community early in the week, indicated that that government will provide financial support to fishermen.

Fishing on the lake was suspended last year on request by the district leaders under Lake Kyoga Integrated Management Organisation (LAKIMO) following concerns of depletion of fish species due to poor fishing methods.