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Sugarcane Farmers Protest Withholding Tax :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Sugarcane Farmers Protest Withholding Tax

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Issa Budhugo, the Chairperson Busoga Sugar Cane Growers Association-BUSGA, says they are unwilling to pay the withholding tax because it amounts to double taxation.
The chairperson of Busoga sugarcane growers association, Issa Budhugo addresses the press at his offices in Kakira town council, Jinja district.
Sugarcane growers in Busoga are opposed to the 1 percent withholding levy imposed by the Trade Ministry. Jim Kabeho, the chairperson of Uganda Sugar Manufacturer's Association, says farmers are required to pay 1% withholding tax to the millers for every ton of cane delivered. 

He explains that the tax is in line with new guidelines from Trade Ministry to cane millers across the country. But Issa Budhugo, the Chairperson Busoga Sugar Cane Growers Association-BUSGA, says they are unwilling to pay the withholding tax because it amounts to double taxation. 

Addressing journalists at his Kakira town council based offices on Monday; Budhugo said there is no need of taxing farmers since they supply sugarcane to millers who pay taxes. He explains that farmers are struggling with low prices for their cane paid by the millers, adding that imposing taxes on them will be burdensome. 

"It is our obligation to pay taxes but withholding tax is like asking a thin legged and malnourished person for money. This will kill the industry because the millers we pay allegiance to are paying us peanuts of Shillings 128,000 per ton," Budhugo argued.

He says Busoga Sugar Cane Growers Association has started lobbying others farmers across the country to petition the speaker of parliament against the tax. "There are many farmers of different agriculture produce in the country but this tax has been imposed on only cane farmers. If the trade minster fails to intervene on this we are lobbying our colleagues from other regions to petition the speaker unanimously on July 1, 2018,” Budhugo said.

David Omboko, one of the sugarcane farmers accuses the trade ministry of imposing the withholding tax without sensitising farmers, saying most of them have no idea of it's relevance to the industry.