MBARARA, December 29, 2023 – Mbarara City Council has directed the Office of the Town Clerk to be ready to start collecting occupational permit fees in a bid to boost local revenue collection.
During a council meeting held on December, 20, 2023, Ben Twahirwa, Deputy Chairperson Multipurpose Committee argued that if implemented, occupational permit fees can enhance service delivery in the city.
Jeninah Kyomuhendo, Female Youth Councillor said, “If this money is collected, it will also help us in implementing some of the running activities in Mbarara City.”
“Initially this money was not being raised because Council and the Finance Committee that is in charge of local revenue had not identified it but moving forward, the council will be collecting the occupational permit fees,” she said.
According to Kyomuhendo, this money will be paid once before commissioning of any business on the buildings.
She said that as council they haven’t set a uniform fee to be paid under this tax, thus appealing to the town clerk to do the needful.
“Currently we haven’t set the exact fee but the revenue department will be able to come up with the correct figures each building will be paying,” she said.
Kyomuhendo appealed to the revenue collectors to sensitise the public about the new tax that is yet to be levied.
Apollo Barya, a businessman venturing in rentals in Mbarara urged the city to consider charging favourable occupational permit fees for the real estate investors.
Aggrey Twijukye, the Chairperson of Uganda Hotels, Western Region, asked the city council to immediately drop the occupational permit fees if Mbarara City, arguing that landlords already pay many taxes.
For instance, people who are in hotel management are already paying local service tax, property tax, ground rent, trading licence, where are we heading to?” Twijukye asked.
He said that such a tax will be a menace to the tenants because landlords will increase rent to meet such fees.
“If the rent for the house was Shs 300,000 then expect an increase to Shs 400,000 for one to be able to get the occupational permit,” he said.
The Deputy Town Clerk, Lillian Kobusingye said their office will implement what the council approves.
The desire to collect occupational permits comes at a time when the city leadership is battling to collect local revenue of over Shs 51 billion in the financial year 2023/2024.
According to Enos Tuhame, the councillor representing male persons with disabilities [PWDs], the pace at which the city is collecting local revenue is very low.
“In the first quarter, local revenue collection was standing at 15 percent and now we are coming to the end of the second quarter and it is at 24 percent,” Tuhame said.
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